Naveed Ahmad Khan
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar Wednesday introduced the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023 or the “mini-budget” in the National Assembly as the coalition government rushes to fulfil the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure loan programme needed to avoid a default.
Addressing the lower house of parliament, the finance minister also announced to increase General Sales Tax GST rate from 17 to 18% and increasing the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes.
Govt has increased GST on luxury items from 17% to 25%
Increase in federal excise duty on cigarettes and fizzy drinks.
Increase in federal excise duty on cement
GST has been increased from 17pc to 18pc
Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) handouts increased to Rs400bn from Rs360bn
FDE on business and first-class air tickets to now be Rs20,000 or 50% — whichever is higher
GST to not be imposed on essential goods.
Ishaq Dar’s speech :Addressing the lower house of parliament, the finance minister compared the performance of the previous PML-N and PTI governments, saying that the nation was facing unprecedented crises due to previous government’s “substandard” policies.
“During Nawaz Sharif’s tenure, the GDP per capita increased while the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) market capitalisation was $100 billion,” Ishaq Dar noted.
He further said that the PML-N always tried to take fewer loans, adding that Foreign investment had also increased during the PML-N tenure. “In contrast, during the PTI government, the loans hit record highs, and a common man’s income also plunged.”
“The PSX’s market capitalisation declined to $26bn during the PTI government”, he said, adding that the decrease showed a lack of investor confidence in the previous government. He asked the house to read the agreement done by the PTI government with the IMF.
The finmin further said that only after a few months in power, the current government faced the daunting task of managing the floods, saying that the country endured an estimated Rs8,000 billion worth of damage.
He assured the House that the prime minister and his cabinet would adopt simplicity and the former would take the nation into confidence soon in this regard. “It is our responsibility to adopt the measures, and give sacrifices. The premier will demonstrate frugality and the cabinet will also reduce its expenses,” he added.