KARACHI: The federal government of Pakistan, through its State Minister and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail presented its 6th budget in the National Assembly. Although it was seen by many as a political endeavour, the budget was welcomed by the business community, analysts, and bankers throughout the country.
“The government has given so much incentive in the budget for the business communities including agriculture, computers, importers, banking and financial institutions, stock markets and auto sector,” said President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Mufasser Ata Malik.
Other members of the KCCI said that since the tenure of the present government is coming to end, it would be difficult to implement this budget amid political and economic uncertainty, and coined it as a ‘political budget’.
Analysts at the brokerage houses said that the government did not announce any measures to overcome the rising external accounts and imports of the country, and hence, it would be very difficult for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to collect the given target of Rs4.435 trillion in taxes in 2018-19.
However, they appreciated the decision to reduce the taxes on investment of stock market and the banking industry. They further claimed that the government may go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the coming year.
All Pakistan Motor Dealers Association (APMDA) Chairman H M Shahzad welcomed the decision of the Ministry of Finance to reduce the duty on hybrid vehicles from 50 per cent to 25 per cent. He said that Japanese companies are producing all kinds of hybrid vehicles and our manufacturing units should introduce such vehicles in Pakistan as well. “The government should also allow us to import such hybrid vehicles in Pakistan, which can save diesel and petrol worth billions of dollars”. He further said that the government has kept the import policy unchanged on a used car being imported in the country.
Most of the businessmen and analysts have claimed that it is difficult to say whether the recently announced budget would be implemented or not. Any newly elected government may be able to change it, hence, it is not prudent to believe in the numbers and targets presented.
The government has only enhanced the tax on cigarettes or tobacco, while the taxes on different sectors have been cut in the budget for 2018-19.
Businessmen also welcomed the decision of the finance ministry to clear the dues of Rs200-250 billion refunds and rebate for businessmen.