Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced the federal government’s budget for 2013-14 in the National Assembly with a record outlay of Rs3.5 trillion. It reflected a difficult and ambitious fiscal adjustment of about Rs580 billion — 2.5 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product) — by reducing subsidies and introducing additional revenue and administrative tax measures estimated to fetch Rs400 billion.
The overall size of the federal budget is estimated at about Rs3.5 trillion, while the tax revenue target has been pitched at Rs2.75 trillion, including the FBR’s revenue target of Rs2.475 trillion. To restrict power sector losses, subsides are targeted to be brought down to about Rs150 billion from the current year’s actual tariff differential subsidies of Rs380 billion, against a budgeted allocation of Rs120 billion.
For this, the federal government plans to gradually increase electricity tariff for all consumers to bridge a whopping Rs6 per unit difference between rates approved by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and those notified. While providing direct subsides to consumers with monthly consumption of up to 300 units, the tariff for higher categories will be substantially increased with additional imposition of a tax on consumption of over 1000 units per month. Total subsidies for next year have been put at Rs300 billion.
It has been estimated that Rs1.15 trillion will be spent on interest payments. A Federal Public Sector Development Programme of Rs540 billion has already been approved by the National Economic Council, while the allocation for defence has been estimated at Rs627 billion. The expenditure on running the civil government has been estimated at Rs278 billion.
The government would try to restrict fiscal deficit to about Rs1.4 trillion, about 5.9 per cent of the GDP, in line with Dar’s desire to bring it down by 2.5 per cent of the GDP from the current year’s Rs2 trillion — almost 8.5 per cent of the GDP.
The salaries of government employees have been proposed to be increased by 10 per cent, slightly higher than the expected inflation rate of eight per cent, and pensions by 15 per cent.
Salient points of Pakistan Budget 2013-2014 :
- The average rate of inflation stood at 13 percent in last five years.
- The burden of national debt witnessed a whopping increase of 250 percent to reach Rs14284 billion.
- Dollar rose to Rs100 from 60.
- The average rate of inflation remained 13 percent in past five years
- Pakistan’s circular debt increased to 250 percent in past five years
- Growth rate remained 1 pc
- Dollar valued soared to Rs100 from Rs60
- Pension increased to 10 percent. The minimum pension will be Rs5000 from Rs3000
- Rs75 billion allocated from Income Support Programme
- Proposal for 75 bn allocation for Income Support Program
- Growth rate stood at 1 percent
- Plan to give 5 Rs 5 lac Qarze Hasna.
- Prime Minister House expenditures being brought down by 45 percent.
- Tax exemption of luxury cars to be abolished.
- Pakistan’s economy suffered a loss of 2 percent each year due to energy crisis.
- Sale tax being increased from 16 pc to 17.
- Circular debt amounting to more than Rs500 billion will be eliminated in 60 days.
- Ban on purchase of new vehicles for Prime Minister office.
- Prime Minister Laptop scheme to be initiated
- Five percent additional tax imposed on non-registered power consumers.
- Exemption of 25 percent on 1800 cc to 2500cc vehicles.
- Customs duty on water filtration equipment to be decreased.
- Pension being increased by 10 percent.
- People works program renamed as Tamir-e-Watan Pakistan program.
- Ministers discretionary funds abolished.
- Economy grew by around 3.
- Economy was on auto pilot.
- 1481 billion tariff subsidy paid.
- 1200 cc hybrid cars exempted form duty tax.
- Non registered power consumers 5 % sales tax.
- 1800-2500 cc cars 25 % concession.
- 1200-1800 cc cars 50% duty reduction.
- 3G license auction soon.
- SBP borrowing to de reduced.
- Targeted inflation rate for FY 2013-14 is 9.5.
- Pension up by 10% from 3000-5000
- GDP target for FY 2013-14 is 4.8 percent.
- Tax revenue target: 2.475 billion.
- Non-tax income: 800 billion
- Power subsidy: 185 billion.
- Small business loans up to Rs200,0000 with 8% markup.
- Investment ratio to be increased by 20 percent.
- Income Support Program: 75 billion.
- Qaraz-e-Hasna (Soft loan): Rs500,000.
- Fiscal deficit targeted at 8 percent of GDP.
- The entire subsidy policy to be reviewed.
- Rs340 billion earmarked for development projects.
|1. As I rise to present the first budget of the newly elected government I want to thank Allah (SWT) for bestowing this singular honor on me. It is not a mere occasion of presenting a budget. It is marking a major transition in the country, where one elected government has completed its full term and after holding the general elections, transition to a new democratic government is being peacefully accomplished. The nation should be proud of the fact that this one step is a leap forward in establishing a democratic polity in the country.2. As the Prime Minister, in his address to the nation has said, a new beginning in Pakistan is about to start. He has given the message of HOPE and OPTIMISM. He has declared that Pakistanis are second to none and that our destiny is nothing but progress. He will lead the nation to a new world, where Pakistan will regain its lost status in the comity of nations, reassert its due respect and identity in the world and elicit due reverence and dignity in return.3. On the economic front he has laid out comprehensive a agenda of reform to reinvigorate the economy, spur growth, maintain price stability, provide jobs to the youth and rebuild the key infrastructure of the country.Mr. Speaker,|
4. My enthusiasm, however, is seriously dampened as I discover that the new government is inheriting a broken economy. From economic growth to prices, from revenues to expenditure, from public debt to circular debt, from monetary expansion to interest rates, from exchange rate to foreign exchange reserves and sustainability of balance of payments, I wish I could identify one single area where their economic management was in the best national interest. Indeed, there has been complete absence of management rather the economy was run on autopilot and its inherent strengths and weaknesses played out at their own without any real contribution of policy. Viewed in this perspective, the verdict of the last elections may be termed as the public accountability of the mismanagement practiced at an unprecedented level by the outgoing government.
(1) The growth rate has averaged less than 3% in the last five years, which is significantly below our potential;
2008, which is now projected to rise to 14,284 billion by 30th June, 2013, implying a 2.5 times increase in country’s indebtedness. Even on the basis of Debt to GDP comparison the ratio rose from 52.6% of GDP to 63.5% representing an increase of nearly 10 percentage points in country’s debt burden. I might add here that the total public debt of Pakistan which accumulated between 1947 and 30th June 1999 was around Rs.3000 billion.
6. These are just a few glimpses of the economic landscape that PML (N) has inherited. I have mentioned them for the sake of setting a benchmark from where we are starting. We are dismayed by this inheritance but not discouraged or disheartened. If any thing, our resolve to put things right has only strengthened after realization of the severity of challenges we are facing. Under the leadership of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif our party is determined to turn the tide and not just restore the health of the economy but take it to new heights by enabling it to realize its full potential.
8. At the outset, I would like to articulate the economic vision that will be guiding our efforts in rebuilding the economy. It comprises the following elements:(1) First, we want to build an economy that is not dependent on others except through trade and investment, based on competitive advantage and market considerations. We are a strong nation of nearly 185 million people and a nuclear power. As much as we need to defend our frontiers, we need to protect our economic sovereignty also, which would only be possible when we refuse to live on handouts and foreign goodwill. Self-reliance has to be our real goal, for only then we will earn the needed respect in the ranks of the nations.
(2) Second, the private sector has to be the lynchpin of economic activities, shouldering the largest burden of economic functions. A government too occupied in carrying out business activities that can best be done by the private sector through a market mechanism is indeed a prescription for distorting the entire economic system and creating inequities in its functioning. Of course, markets have to be regulated so that competitive environment is ensured. Indeed, because we were too occupied in managing businesses we have grossly neglected the regulatory role of the government, to the detriment of safeguarding consumers’ interests.
(3) Third, the only areas where government’s presence in economic affairs can be justified is where investments are too large for private sector to undertake and/or markets are unlikely to function for lack of adequate commercial returns even though social returns will be very high, such as in education, health, population welfare and large infrastructure projects. Since social sector functions have been devolved to provinces, and for whom we will make adequate resources available, at the federal level our primary focus would be to radically alter and upgrade the fast depleting physical infrastructure of the country, most notably in the case of power sector where widespread shortages are seriously stifling the growth potential of our economy.
(4) Fourth, all segments of the population must share the burden of resource mobilization for running the government. The culture of exemptions and concessions must end to build a self-reliant economy. By the same token, if for reasons noted earlier, government has to undertake an economic service, full cost of operations must be recovered. Non-recovery of cost, through subsidies and non-payment, may provide temporary relief, but it is an assured prescription for disruptive supplies and unviable operations for the companies providing those services.
(5) Fifth, government must limit itself within the broader limits imposed by the available resources, primarily determined by revenues collected through different taxes. On this account government’s performance generally has been dismal, as it has been incurring expenditures far in excess of our income. I will say more on this later in my speech.
(6) Sixth, we have to protect our weak and poor segments of population. People of this country or for that matter any other nation, are our real strength. The marginalized groups represent a reservoir of potentialities which if realized will change the destiny of any nation. It is in this perspective that we have to treat our poor and weak segments of population with care and inclusion. Such are also the groups most vulnerable to extremist ideologies if neglected. Building a reliable and accessible social safety net for these peoples is an imperative that we will be committed to fulfill.9.Even though this is a simple vision we have strayed from this path for a long period of time. In the meanwhile, powerful interest groups have emerged who would like the country to continue to walk along the familiar but distorted path. In our view, we have lost considerable time in failing to give a predictable and stable path to our economy. We should not waste any more time in creating a definite and unmistakable direction for our economy so that investors can make long-term decisions, both domestic and foreign and our identity, inherent in the above vision, is firmly established in the eyes of the world.10.This budget will unfold the implementation plan for this vision. This vision will not be realized tomorrow rather it is a long journey that we have to travel steadfastly. However, a journey of thousand miles starts with first steps, and that is what, Mr. Speaker, this House will see that in this budget we will be laying the foundations for realization of this vision.
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11. Let me turn to specific policy measures we are adopting in the present budget to address challenges facing the economy and their solutions:(1)Reduction of fiscal deficit: At the outset, let me state that the main plank of our budget strategy is to reduce fiscal deficit so that its ill effects that pervade through the entire economy can be avoided. The revised estimate for deficit for 2012-13 is Rs.2024 billion or 8.8% of the GDP and we plan to reduce it to Rs.1651 billion or by nearly 2.5 percentage points to 6.3% of the GDP. We need to further reduce it but we have to do so gradually and in the medium term we do plan to reduce it to 4% of GDP.
(2) Raising Tax Revenues: I will lay down tax policy and specific measures in the second part of my speech.
(3) Arresting Inflationary Pressures: The following measures will help in arresting the inflationary pressures:i.Reduction in deficit will have salutary effect on inflation.
ii.Regular price monitoring will be undertaken with a view to ensure adequate supplies of all commodities. Extensive networks of Juma and Itwar bazaars all across the country will be established and wherever required imports will be used to ward-off of domestic shortages.
iii.We will be using public savings and cheap foreign borrowings to finance deficit and reduce the burden of debt servicing. New domestic saving schemes will be introduced aimed at enhancing public access to government securities which are presently heavily concentrated amongst the banks and given their high spreads much of the benefits of government borrowings are flowing to banks than to general depositors.
iv.Finally, we will be inducting professional managers in debt management and taking advantage of numerous opportunities to diversify our debts both domestic and international.
v.Elimination of borrowings from State Bank will be pursued vigorously. However, I am at pain to point out that the SBP Act, 1956, which was amended by this parliament in 2012 imposing two important constraints on the government borrowings from the State Bank, which is basically printing of money, has been consistently violated by the government. First, government could borrow from SBP only for a maximum period of 3 months, and at the end of each quarter those borrowings will have to be retired. Second, the then existing stock of debt from the State Bank, some Rs.1400 billion, was to be retired in a period of 8 years. Rather than any retirement, this stock of debt now stands at Rs.2300 billion. We are now faced with this onerous responsibility to retire this debt in 6 years at the rate of nearly Rs.400 billion annually.(4) Resolving the Energy Crisis: Not withstanding its enormity, PML (N) government is fully committed to solving the energy crisis facing the nation. We have chalked out a program and we are inshallah putting it in operation forthwith. The plan includes the following elements: First, I am pleased to announce that Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has taken an historic decision to settle the entire circular debt in 60 days, so that every available and economically viable source of power could be brought on line. Second, as a result of this, we are confident that the duration of loadshedding in the country will begin to come down. Third, for this monumental effort to have the desired effect on the continued viability of the sector, it is imperative that we must do all that is needed to stop its recurrence in the future. I urge all consumers to pay their bills, for without recovery of cost no service can be provided indefinitely. Fourth, the office of the Federal Adjuster will be reorganized and strengthened so that it will ensure expeditious recovery of arrears of electricity from the provincial governments. Fifth, Prime Minister will soon announce a comprehensive plan to incentivize and encourage further investment in energy projects in Pakistan.
(5) Nandipur Project: I would also like to inform this House that a highly economical power project, Nandipur for 425 MW, which initially had a cost of Rs.23 billion was a victim of criminal negligence and its imported machinery has remained stranded for the last three years for want of clearance of certain documents from government departments. Today its cost has risen to Rs.57 billion. We have taken immediate cognizance of this situation and are making necessary efforts to have the documents released and obtain fresh approval from the competent forums. As soon as these are in place in the next few weeks, work on its reconstruction will start immediately and inshallah shall be completed in 18 months. In the meanwhile, let me make it abundantly clear that all those responsible for inflicting this phenomenal loss on the nation shall be brought to justice.
(6) Reducing un-targeted subsidies: As I noted earlier, we must save country’s finances by relieving it from the burden of un-targeted subsidies. We are conscious of the need for the weaker sections of the population to be helped by the government. Accordingly, any scheme of subsidy, whether in electricity, gas, fertilizer, sugar and wheat must be targeted to reach to those weaker segments. We therefore plan to rationalize the present subsidies and discourage their indiscriminate use and evolve targeting mechanism to ensure that deserving recipients should benefit from them.
(7) Improving Balance of Payments: Our biggest woe at the moment is near absence of foreign resources, critically needed to sustain our balance of payments and provide additional resources for development. Inshallah, we are giving an economic vision and implementing it in this budget that will significantly raise the confidence of our development partners. We will soon sort our issues with IFIs and normal flows will begin to flow in the country. More importantly, we will ensure a transparent auction of 3-G licenses that will fetch about $1,200 million. We will also strive to secure the payment of $800 million from the Etisalat that is due for more than 5 years. On the back of improved relations with IFIs, we will return to international capital markets so that additional resources can be mobilized from this source also. We also plan to reinvigorate the privatization program that will also provide us requisite foreign resource and be a catalyst for revival of foreign investment in the country.
(8) Creating New Jobs: As I have already stated, much of the new jobs will have to be created primarily in the private sector. However, government will also play its part in this regard. In a short while I will give you more details of the public sector development plan. For now, let me say that despite reducing fiscal deficit we are raising the development expenditure from a budgeted Rs.360 billion in the current year to Rs.540 billion which is a significant increase of nearly 50%. The provincial governments will make another investment of about Rs.615 billion taking the total public sector investment to Rs.1,155 billion which is a healthy 4.4% of GDP. Clearly, there is room for further increase in development spending but given the resource constraint we have protected development expenditure and increasing it also as compared to current expenditures. This investment will create numerous jobs in various sectors of the economy and spur other economic activities, which will create further opportunities for gainful pursuits by our people.
(9) Raising Investment for Growth: Our biggest economic challenge is to radically increase the level of investment in the economy. I have already noted some of the steps we are taking to reduce budget deficit, bring down inflation and pave the way for a reduction in the interest rate, all of which will make room for private investment.
(10) Reforming Public Sector Corporations: We are determined to fully reform and restructure public sector corporations so that their bleeding is stopped. At the outset, we have decided to appoint professional managers in all public sector corporations through a competitive and transparent process of recruitment. All such corporations that can be profitably privatized will be put to a credible process of privatization. Finally, where privatization is not a possible option either a management contract will be negotiated or fully independent management will be inducted to run the corporations on pure professional grounds. Alongside, full financial restructuring will be carried out to enable them to run on sound commercial basis.
(11) Protecting the Poor: In its manifesto, the PML (N) has outlined a detailed strategy for social protection. Indeed, I am pleased that in 2008 when PML (N) was part of the federal government for a brief period, as Finance Minister I had designed a project of income support fund. It was a program for supplementing the income of poorest of families on totally apolitical basis with a clear methodology for identifying the target population. However, the purity of the program was compromised and it was also politicized. We owe to our poor families that such a program should continue with appropriate safeguards and should in fact be extended to a larger portion of the target population. I am pleased to announce that the Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has decided that the Income Support Program will continue and will also be expanded. From Rs.40 billion spent under the program last year, we will be raising its size to Rs.75 billion, which is nearly doubling of the program. However, we will bring significant changes in its design and build an explicit exit strategy for the recipients to ensure that this support does not promote dependency rather it only helps them break out from poverty and be able to find a job. I am also pleased to announce that the amount of Rs.1000 per month under the income support program is increased by 20% to Rs.1200 per month.
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(b)Inflation will be maintained in single digit throughout the medium term.
(c)Investment to GDP ratio will rise to 20% at the end of medium term.
(d)Fiscal deficit to be brought to 4% of GDP by 2015-16.
(e)Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves will be increased to more than $20 billion at the end of medium term.
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15.Allah (SWT) has blessed Pakistan with one of the best water resources in the world. We have also inherited an extensive network of irrigation canals, water courses and barrages and our early leadership had the vision of building such mega projects as Tarbela and Mangla that have enabled us to support our agriculture, so central to our economic life. But unfortunately we have failed to add to such critical projects or maintain these precious assets. To meet the growing needs of water it is imperative that we build new reservoirs and use every cusec of available water for development of energy.
16.It is this vision in view that is reflected in our development plan allocation for the water sector. We are investing Rs.59 billion for the water sector projects that will include such projects as Katchi Canal (Dera Bugti and Nasirabad), Rainee Canal (Ghotki and Sukkur), Kurram Tangi Dam
(North Waziristan), Extension of Pat Feeder Canal to Dera Bugti, Gomal Zam Dam (South Waziristan), Ghabir Dam (Chakwal), completion of Mangla Dam raising, lining of water courses in Sindh and Punjab, flood protection and drainage schemes all over the country.
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Extension Project (1410 MW), Thar Coal Gasification Project (100 W),
Chashma Civil Nuclear Power project (600 MW), Two Karachi Nuclear
Coastal Power Projects (2200 MW) with Chinese assistance, Keyal Khawar Hydro Project (122 MW), Allai Khawar Hydro Project (122 MW),
Combined Cycle Power Projects at Nandipur and Chichiki Malian (950 MW), Upgradation of Guddu Power Project (747 MW gas-based), conversion of oil based power projects to coal at Muzaffargarh and
Jamshoro (3,120 MW) and numerous projects to improve the transmission lines, grid-stations and distribution systems.
18. It can be judged that we have a long-term plan to add cheap power to the national grid and substitute the current dependence on fuel oil to cheaper alternatives. The improvements in fuel mix will mean future tariffs will not be rising as fast as they have been in the recent past.
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21.It is amazing that Gwadar Port was constructed and no significant effort was made to provide connectivity with the north even though nearly a decade has passed since its completion. Coastal Highway was made to bring things to Karachi, completely neutralizing the benefits that were supposed to accrue with a new port at Gwadar.
22.We are according top most priority to connect the Gwadar Port to the north by rapidly completing the various sections of Turbat-Basima- Ratodero and other smaller sections of M-8 so that the real benefits of the port will begin to flow to the people. We will also accelerate the work on M-
4connecting Faisalabad to Khanewal and Multan. We plan to undertake a fresh initiative to build M-9 linking Karachi-Hyderabad on Public Private Partnership basis and we are confident that we will succeed in executing this project within the shortest possible time. Let me announce the commitment of our government regarding motorways: the entire system of motorways planned by NHA will be completed during the next five years.
This network will guarantee vast expansion in domestic trade, significant reduction in cost of transportation of goods from north to south, cheap transport for people to move around in different parts of the country and increased opportunities of tourism in the country.
23.Besides, the motorway network we have opened a preliminary dialogue with the Chinese government for constructing a high quality modern expressway linking Gwadar with Kashgar. This will be the modern equivalent of ancient silk-route. This is a visionary project and will unleash an historic progress in the region and provide a critical opening for Pakistan with our northern neighborhood.
24. Apart from these strategic projects, we are investing in a large number of national highways, bridges, rehabilitation and reconstruction of national roads destroyed by the floods and regional roads for connectivity. A sum of about Rs.73 billion has been kept in the budget for the road sector. Numerous job opportunities will be created while undertaking the above projects.
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27.An inherently commercial and profitable organization today stands in a state of huge losses, countless stores of precious amounts of refused rails, rolling stocks, locomotives and rebuilding factories suffering from low capacity utilization. It is, however, not a poor organization, as it owns priceless lands, the main artery of rail link and large number of branches connecting far flung areas of the country, numerous bridges, countless buildings, factories, historic railway stations and a very large cadre of technical and civil servants. They are highly skilled, but presently they are demoralized and demotivated, as they see no hope for their betterment tomorrow. The real problem, therefore, in a sense, is not lack of resources, but their utterly inefficient utilization. All this can be changed with leadership, vision, commitment and a plan, to be faithfully implemented, that would aim at complete leveraging of railway assets, infrastructure and improving incentives of employees to perform better.
28.We are committed to revive Pakistan Railways and lay the foundation for restoration of its past glory. Minister for Railways is developing a detailed plan for the above purpose, but let me outline the basic features of the agenda we shall pursue:
(a)Through an Act of the Parliament, Pakistan Railways will be converted into a proper corporation, with due security of job and terms and conditions of the employment of the existing employees;
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(a)A sizeable allocation of Rs.18 billion has been made for the Higher Education Commission, which will support development plans of different universities all over the country. It may be noted that on the current side also a hefty allocation of Rs.39 billion is made for HEC. Thus a combined outlay of Rs.57 billion will be made for higher education.
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(1)The policy of developing Export Promotion Zones with comprehensive incentive packages, which we had earlier supported with enthusiasm, will be reviewed and necessary amendments made to make it more attractive.
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(2)At least 1,000 clusters of 500 houses each will be developed for low-income families through public private partnerships
(3)To ensure cost-effective access to credit for housing, government will be picking up a portion of the financing cost on behalf of the borrower. A provision of Rs.3.5 billion is kept in the budget for this purpose;
(4)Schemes on the model of Ashiyana Housing Scheme will also be developed in which the government will provide opportunities to low income families to own their house on payment of easy installments
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36.The share of the provinces out of this amount will be Rs.1,502 billion compared to Rs.1,221 billion last year, and showing an increase of about 23%. Net resources left with the federal government will be Rs.1,918 billion compared to the revised estimates of Rs.1,616 billion for last year, showing an increase of about 19%. The level of transfers to the provinces is historic. We are happy to share this larger revenue as under the new constitutional arrangements provincial responsibilities, particular relating to social sectors have been significantly enhanced. We are sure that higher resource transfer will enable them to bring the critical social services and law and order facilities to the doorstep of our people.
37.Total expenditure for 2013-14 is budgeted at Rs.3,591 billion compared to the revised estimates of Rs.3,577 billion for 2012-13, showing a negligible increase. This is the first indication of an austere budget in line with the imperatives of the economy. The current budget is estimated at Rs.2,829 billion for 2013-14 against a revised estimate of Rs.2,720 billion for 2012-13, showing an increase of 4%. However, keeping in view the development needs, investment requirements of the country and urgency of creating additional job opportunities, we have provided adequate development resources. Against a budgeted estimate of Rs.360 billion for PSDP, we have budgeted it at Rs.540 billion showing an increase of nearly 50%.
38.The federal deficit is projected at Rs.1,674 billion for 2013-14 compared to the revised estimate of Rs.1,962 billion for last year. By requiring a small surplus of Rs.23 billion from the provinces, compared to a revised deficit of Rs.41 billion last year, we have projected an overall fiscal deficit of Rs.1,651 billion for 2013-14 compared to the revised estimate of Rs.2024 billion last year. This gives deficit to GDP ratio of 6.3% for 2013-14 compared to an alarmingly large deficit of 8.8% incurred last year.
39. It is evident that our government is laying the foundation of a sound economy, which is the most important challenge our country is facing. We have not gone for populism but have responded to the imperative of the situation in hand. An adjustment of nearly 2.5% is not a mean achievement and we are confident that we will deliver it.
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|Mr. Speaker,41.Allow me to start Part II of my speech, which relates to taxation proposals.42.As a nation, we need to make appropriate decisions so that Pakistan can live within its own means, bring down deficit to reasonable limit and mobilize requisite resources for development.43.The PML (N) Government seeks to encourage overall economic activity in the country and create an conducive environment which facilitates genuine investors and business. As we all know, when business flourishes, employment opportunities are created, investment flows into the country and ultimately, there is peace and prosperity|
44. To achieve these objectives, the Government has decided not to put additional burdens on those people who are already paying their due share of tax, but to make efforts to ensure that those who are not paying anything should be forced to contribute something to the national exchequer. The revival of national economy is the main focus of the PML (N) government. This requires fundamental and structural reforms in the area of Taxation.
45. The earlier PML (N) government raised Tax to GDP ratio to 13%, which was the result of simplification of tax laws, making taxes broad based, plugging loopholes in the system and holding tax machinery more accountable. The reform process was halted with the illegal and arbitrary dismissal of the PML (N) government and as a result, the Tax to GDP ratio declined gradually and is presently at alarming rate of 9%. The focus of the budget 2013-14 is improvement in Tax to GDP ratio finally reaching to 15% by 2018.
46. The immense economic challenges being faced by the country require a smooth flow of revenue generated through our own resources, reducing reliance on aid and foreign loans. It is of utmost importance that we become self reliant. The country is going through a severe energy crisis. Mobilization of adequate resources is required to address this issue so that suffering of our people are mitigated.
47. The broad themes of our government’s taxation policy are (i) taxing those who are not paying any tax, (ii) enhancing efficiency of the tax machinery, (iii) removing anomalies and distortions in the tax system, (iv) simplifying the tax procedures, (v) broadening of the tax base, (vi) rationalization of tax rates and exemptions, (vii) encouraging corporatization and documentation (viii) taxpayers facilitation and (ix) to eradicate maladministration and corruption in F.B.R.
48. A fair and equitable tax system lays more emphasis on direct taxes, so that the affluent classes of society pay more. Unfortunately, in our taxation system, indirect taxes have a major share, leading to tax burden on common man. This year, a paradigm change has been made in proposing tax measures, as the overwhelming revenue proposals relate to direct taxes.
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(1) With effect from fiscal year 2014-15, the maximum corporate tax rate will be reduced by 1% annually to coming down to 30% from the present 35%. This will promote a culture of corporatization in the country;
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(2)To align income tax and sales tax and to discourage fake invoices, it is proposed that all persons registered under the sales tax law shall be made withholding agents for Income Tax purpose on payments on account of purchases, services and contracts;
(3)To ensure that the taxpayers do not abuse the facilities and reliefs provided in the Income Tax Law to avoid proper taxation by consistently declaring losses and contribute to the exchequer equitably, the rate of minimum tax shall be enhanced from 0.5% to 1%.
(4)The construction sector contributes Rs.1 billion to the national exchequer, which is not proportionate to its potential. Its taxation is normally spread over multiple years depending upon the period of construction. In order to simplify taxation of construction sector minimum tax on builders and developers is proposed. The tax shall be paid at a the rate of Rs.50 per sq. ft. of the constructed area; or Rs.100 per square yard of the developed land, as the case may be.
(5)The rates of tax on salary introduced last year overburdened the middle-income group. This anomaly has been corrected through this Finance Bill by rationalizing the rates of tax on salaries in way that each income group pays tax according to its capacity.
(6)Rate of tax on Business individuals and AOPs shall be rationalized with the addition of two new slabs. This will gradually increase the rate from current maximum of 25% for income exceeding Rs.2.5 million to 35% for income above Rs.6 million.
(7)To encourage corporatization, separate rates of WHT for non-corporate taxpayers i.e. commercial imports, contracts, supplies and services are being proposed.
(8)New adjustable withholding tax is being proposed for foreign-based films and dramas to make them competitive with the local film industry.
(9)To bring dealers/Arhtis of commodities in tax net, WHT on the basis of registration category is being introduced. Market committees shall collect this adjustable tax from such dealers.
(10)To tax affluent class on the basis of its expenses, it is proposed that adjustable withholding tax may be introduced @ 5% on annual fee of Rs.200,000 paid to an educational institution.
(11)Traders are not contributing to the tax revenue in keeping with their share in GDP. Adjustable withholding tax is accordingly proposed to be collected from wholesalers and retailers in specified sectors @ 0.1% and 0.5%. The rate of tax to be collected from wholesalers and dealers is being reduced to 0.1% from 0.5%. The manufacturers, distributors and commercial importers shall collect this tax.
(12)Agriculture sector enjoys exemption from payment of federal tax but this facility has been misused as untaxed non agriculture income is concealed in the garb of agriculture income. In order to check the misuse of law, it is proposed that credit of agricultural income shall be given only if provincial income tax on such income has been paid. It will also facilitate in enhancing the revenue of Provinces from agricultural income.
(13)The law for obtaining information from bank regarding its customers is being aligned with international practices. The objective is to strengthen the National data warehouse at FBR for tax base broadening.
(14)In order to expand the tax base, it is decided to utilize data collected by the Federal Board of Revenue and NADRA in a systematic manner. In this regard profiling of 500,000 persons identified on the basis of financial transactions traced shall be carried out. Besides, display of NTN at business premises is also being made mandatory to broaden the tax net. These measures will increase out reach of the department and promote the culture of voluntary compliance.
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(2)All taxable supplies made to unregistered persons will include 2% further tax, for encouraging registration. Again, once they get registered, they will no longer have to bear this charge.
(3)The sales tax withholding agents will now withhold the full amount of sales tax on purchases made from such unregistered persons.
(4)Certain important measures are being initiated to enhance the efficiency of the tax machinery and increase its enforcement capacity. These measures are explained here.
(5)To reduce leakage in sectors prone to evasion, the government is planning to initiate electronic monitoring of production processes through video links, tax stamps and labels, electronic tracking, etc. Effective monitoring without human intervention will help introduce a transparent, automatic, and error-free way to ensure proper payment of taxes by these sectors.
(6)FBR has already developed a sophisticated computerized system, called CREST, which has recently helped to detect and recover billions of rupees from the textile sector. This system will be enhanced and expanded, so that leakages of revenue in other sectors can also be detected and recovered.
(7)It is also proposed to introduce a simplified and centralized mechanism to block illegal refunds and input tax adjustments, to stop fake and flying invoices, and to prevent bogus registered persons from committing tax frauds.
(8)To ensure proper monitoring of taxable activities, the registration of registered persons will be placed in the jurisdiction where its business premises are located.
(9)In view of serious resource constraint it is imperative that additional resources should be mobilized immediately. Accordingly, it is proposed to raise the standard rate of sales tax from 16% to 17%.
(10)Supplies made under international tenders used to be zero-rated, but were made exempt last year to stop creation of refunds and associated malpractices. However, this measure created a disadvantage for local competitors, as they could no longer claim input tax adjustment. To create a level playing field for both local and foreign competitors for international tenders, it has been decided to remove the disparity and place both local and foreign competitors under the same standard tax regime.
(11)Zero-rating of sales tax on local supplies tends to create distortions and promotes malpractices. But since ordinary people also use many of these zero-rated items, sales tax is not being imposed on them and they are being exempted from sales tax.
(12)It has been decided to expand the list of items in the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax Act. The measures will not only require manufacturers and importers to print retail prices on consumer goods, but also enable the government to capture the tax involved till the retail stage instead of the benefit going to unregistered wholesalers and retailers.
(13)The five export-oriented sectors were enjoying zero- rating on local supplies over the past several years, which has recently been changed to a reduced rate regime. However, even expensive imported goods like branded clothes, leather bags, and sports goods are enjoying the reduced rate of 2%. Some items enjoying the reduced rates have multi-purpose use in other industries, which creates distortions. To remove these problems, finished goods and items having multi-purpose use are being taken out of the reduced rate regime.
(14)In 2010, due to the prevailing situation, a general exemption of duties and taxes was extended to the tribal areas and some districts of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. These were supposed to be time-bound exemptions, and the income tax exemption has already expired. However, the notifications for sales tax and federal excise exemptions did not have any expiry clause. The continued exemption is creating a distortion and difficulties for businesses in other regions. It is, therefore, proposed to be withdrawn.
(15)In case of federal excise, manufacturers of edible oil and ghee complained of distortion, as those using locally produced oil or imported oilseeds were not paying any tax. To remove this anomaly, locally produced oil and imported oilseed are being subjected to the similar tax regime as imported edible oil.
(16)Presently, financial services offered by banking and non- banking sectors are subject to federal excise duty. There is no duty if other persons provide the same services. To remove this disparity, it is proposed that federal excise duty at the same rate may be imposed on all such financial services.
(17)At present, imported edible oil is subject to tax. However, canola seed is being freely imported. This is not only a disparity but also hurts the local oil seed production. To remove this disparity, it has been decided to impose federal excise duty @ 40 paisa per kilogram on imported canola seed.
(18)The Federal excise duty on cigarettes is simplified and re-structured, from three slabs based on a composite formula, to two slabs based on a specific rate.
(19)It is proposed to allow the aerated beverage industry to pay tax on capacity or fixed basis. It would not only facilitate them, but would help them contribute a handsome additional amount to the exchequer. It would eliminate corruption and make the system transparent and clear. It will also encourage the industry to expand. The detailed notification for implementing the new regime will be issued shortly.
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55.Power shortage has become a chronic problem for the whole country. While major initiatives are being taken to address the power generation and supply situation, a major shift towards the use of renewable energy resources is also a need of the time. In this context various measures are being included in the current budget to encourage use of alternate energy resources by simplifying the procedure for duty free import of solar and wind energy machinery and equipment. At the same time, duty on energy saving devices like energy saving tubes, solar water pumps etc. is also being exempted.
56.Despite prevailing economic situation, every possible effort is being made to provide some respite to the suffering poor of Pakistan. Availability of clean water is fundamental right of every Pakistani. In order to address the spread of water borne diseases through use of filtered water, rate of customs duties on water filtration equipment is being reduced.
57.Use of imported POL products as a major source of energy has not only led to high import bill, but has also created a negative environmental impact. Therefore, use of alternate energy efficient Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) needs to be encouraged. It is, therefore, proposed that HEVs up to 1200cc will be exempt from duties and other taxes. From 1201cc to 1800cc 50% relief from duties and other taxes will be provided and from 1801cc to 2500cc, 25% relief is proposed. No relief will be available for vehicles beyond 2500cc.
58. Betel nuts and betel leaves are injurious to health. In order to discourage their consumption, custom duty on both these items shall be increased.
59. The proposed tax measures are the most important need of the economy. It will help us in reducing fiscal deficit and also reduce our dependence on external resources. Thus this is an important move toward achieving self-reliance.
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|New Programs for YouthMr. Speaker,60. One of the key messages Prime Minister had given during election campaign was his commitment to toward the welfare of our youth. Amongst all sections of our population it is our youth that must not be struck despair and despondency. It is in fulfillment of his promises with the youth that following new programs will be launched in next year’s budget:(1)Prime Minister’s Youth Training Program: Amongst the youth, the most vulnerable group are those who have completed a 16-year degree program but have not been able to find a decent job, mostly for lack of appropriate experience and training. It is the most cherished desire of the Prime Minister that the government must handhold this group of highly educated youth to inspire confidence and assurance in their lives. Accordingly, he has directed that a comprehensive scheme be developed for such youth in government offices, corporations, bodies and authorities at all levels. All those completing a 16-year degree program and below the age of 25 years will be eligible for selection under the scheme. A one-year training program will be designed for these graduates during which they will be entitled for a stipend of Rs.10,000 per month. Ministry of Education, Training and Standards for Higher Education will administer the scheme and each applicant will apply on-line and his/her degrees will be verified also on-line by HEC. I am confident that this scheme will provide a useful training to qualified youth nearer their homes and will enable them to fare better in the job market.|
(2)Prime Minister’s Youth Skills Development Program: Under this program 25,000 young persons up to the age of 25 and will minimum qualification of middle, will be imparted training in a number of trades across the country. National Vocational and Technical Training Authority (NAVTEC) will manage the program in collaboration with provincial TEVTA authorities. Six months training will be given for which fee will be paid by the government. Emphasis will be placed on such trades as are in demand abroad or will enable the graduates to become self-employed.
(3)Small Business Loans Scheme: With a view to enable our youth to start their own business, small business loans will be made available through the banking system. Under the scheme loans ranging from Rs.100,000 to Rs.2,000,000 will be available at a mark-up cost of 8%. The remaining cost will be borne by the Government. In the first year of the scheme, 50,000 loans will be offered. The scheme will be strengthened in the light of experience gained in first year of operation.
(4)Prime Minister’s Scheme for Provision of Laptop: To promote access to information and communication technology it has been decided that provision of a laptop for distinguished student pursuing higher education should be made. All students pursuing a degree program from one of the HEC recognized universities or institutions and meeting merit criteria to be developed by HEC would be eligible to get a laptop. HEC will announce the details of the scheme shortly.
(5)Fee Reimbursement Scheme for Less Developed Areas: Under an existing scheme bright students from less developed areas are provided tuition fee support while pursuing higher education at Master’s and Doctorate levels. Presently, it is available to students from Balochistan, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan. There is no reason why this support should not be expended to other less developed areas such as those of Interior Sindh and Multan, Bahawalpur and D.G. Khan Divisions of South Punjab, which are equally less developed. Accordingly, students from these areas pursuing higher education on merit will also be eligible for tuition fee support.
(6)Prime Minister’s Micro Finance Scheme: To enable our men and women to undertake micro enterprise activities, it is decided to allocate Rs.5 billion to launch a scheme of Qarz- e-Hassana (loans without mark-up). These will be made available through selected micro finance providers including Akhuwat, NRSP and Provincial RSPs. Fifty percent of the beneficiaries of this scheme will be women.
(7)Prime Minister’s Housing Finance Scheme: Under this scheme, a mortgage facility of Rs. 1.5 million to Rs. 5.0 million will be offered at a mark-up rate of 8%. Fifty thousand people will benefit from this scheme.
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Finally, let me appeal to you – keep together, put up with inconveniences, sufferings and sacrifices, for the collective good of our people. No amount of trouble, no amount of hard work or sacrifice contribution is enough for the collective good of your nation and state. It is in that way, that you will build a Pakistan as the fifth largest state in the world, not only in population as it is but also in strength, so that it will command the respect of all the other nations of the world.
70. Curiously, I find that Allama Muhammad Iqbal, who first conceived the idea of Pakistan, had a similar message for us we he formulated this powerful and apt description of our potentialities:
71. Let’s start our journey on the road identified by Quid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal the two great leaders of Pakistan movement. Allah (SWT) will be our Guide and Supporter.