Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday introduced the Finance Bill 2023, commonly known as the ‘mini budget’, in the National Assembly, as the government strives to unlock a critical IMF loan.
Addressing the session, Dar said that the GDP per capita increased during the term of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif while the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s market capitalisation reached $100 billion.
On the other hand, he added, PSX market capitalisation dropped to $26bn during the tenure of the PTI government.
The decrease, he maintained, depicted a lack of investor confidence in the Imran Khan-led government. He also criticised the PTI government for a ‘significant increase’ in the country’s debt.
The finance minister assured the House that the premier and his team would adopt “simplicity” and the Cabinet would soon take the nation into confidence on the tax measures.
The minister proposed:
- Increase in the GST on luxury items, from 17 percent to 25 percentFifty percent increase in the FED on business and first-class air tickets.
- Ten percent withholding adjustable advance income on marriage bills.
- Increase in FED on cigarettes, aerated and sugary drinks.
- Increase of FED on cement from Rs1.5 per kg to Rs2 per kg.
- Increase in GST from the standard 17 percent to 18 percent.
- Allocation of Rs400 billion for the BISP.
Shortly after it was tabled in the lower house of the Parliament, the bill was also presented in the Senate.
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The session was subsequently postponed until Friday (Feb 17).
It was reported today global ratings agency Fitch has downgraded Pakistan’s sovereign credit rating from CCC+ to CCC-, citing concerns about policy, high refinancing risks, critically low reserves, and the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) stringent conditions.
This is the second such downgrade since October 2022, when Fitch first reduced Pakistan’s rating from B- to CCC+.
Given that Fitch usually does not provide outlooks to countries with a CCC+ rating and below, the agency’s downgrade reflects a worsening of the country’s external, fiscal, and economic metrics over the last 12 months. Further, S&P Global has already reduced its long-term rating for Pakistan from B to CCC+.
وزیر اعظم پاکستان شہباز شریف نے یہ فیصلہ کیا ہے کہ وہ اور ان کی کابینہ سادگی اپنائے گی اور عوام کو ایسا کرنے کی تلقین کرے گی،شہباز شریف عنقریب قوم کو اعتماد میں لیں گے۔
اسحاق ڈارhttps://t.co/1mz20HjRzK pic.twitter.com/cy9Odh68eK
— Naya Daur Urdu (@nayadaurpk_urdu) February 15, 2023