May 272017

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stressed the need to create a "charter of economy" with consensus from all political segments, before the general elections next year and stated that the government's prime objective is to improve the economic condition of Pakistan.

Speaking at the post-budget media briefing on Saturday, Dar said that the 2017-18 budget was focused on increasing spending on development programmes whereas inflation would also be curtailed.

The government presented the Rs4.75 trillion budget on Friday which assigned more than Rs1tr for developmental expenditure while defence spending was increased to Rs920 billion.

On Saturday, Dar noted that the new budget had set a tax revenue collection target which was 14 per cent higher than the preceding budget while the gross domestic product (GDP) target had been set at 6pc.

Read: Budget: Can the PML-N govt meet the unrealistic targets it has set for itself?

The federal minister pointed out that defence was given priority over other sectors, which is why it was allocated Rs920bn, a seven per cent increase over last year's budget.

He also stated that the government had not imposed any new taxes on common citizens. "The perception that we have imposed taxes worth Rs500bn is wrong. We have imposed taxes worth Rs120bn and offered relief of Rs33bn."

Citing the example of milk prices, he said that any such price hike was unjustified. He said, "I read on social media sites that the price of milk has gone up even though we did not impose any new tax on it. The price of milk should not go up because we have not done anything to affect its price."

Explore: Budget 2017-18: Government on a tightrope

He stated that the budget increased the salaries of government employees by 10pc, which was something he was satisfied with.

In yesterday's parliamentary session where the budget was presented, the federal finance minister stated that along with augmenting the salary of government officers, army officers would receive a 'special' 10pc increment while the pensions of government officers were going to receive a similar gain.

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