ISLAMABAD: With the budget being put together just days ahead of its announcement, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said that the government’s main target in the 2015-16 budget is to strengthen industrial and agriculture sectors through incentives.
Talking to the media, the minister said the country would achieve 5.5% growth in the new fiscal year and would hit 6-6.5% and 7.5% growth rates in the next two years.
He said last year’s tax collection stood at Rs2,250 billion while Rs1,400 billion was spent on foreign debt servicing and Rs850 billion on defence and security budget.
He explained that this year the government was trying to increase foreign currency reserves up to $20 billion.
“Our objective is economic growth and job creation,” he said. “Every year, 1.5 million new jobs are needed, but the government alone cannot create so many jobs. It is trying to attract the private sector through incentives to increase investment.”
Iqbal pointed out that Pakistan’s ratings, both by Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, were being upgraded, declaring the country one of the most favourable investment destinations.
He said the government had given priority to the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam and decided to allocate funds for the project, which would be completed in 10 to 12 years.
“We have set up the Prime Minister Delivery Unit to monitor all projects from their initial stage so that these are completed in the set timeframe.”
He said in the upcoming budget, the government was going to take measures to document every citizen’s income and expenditure.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2015.