Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on said that incumbent government had taken concrete steps for introducing measures to remove structural imbalances in national economy to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
Addressing the ‘1st Pakistan Petrochemical Symposium’, organized by Corporate Pakistan Group in collaboration with Board of Investment (BOI), Tarin said that these structural flaws and imbalances slowed down the economic growth rate from last many years.
While giving the historic prospect of national economy, he said that local economy was on rapid path of development in era of 1960 and Pakistan was ranked as 4th largest economy, bigger then South Korea, second to China and Japan.
However, the massive nationalization and huge inflow of refuges during Afghan war were among some other factors, which negatively influenced the economic growth, he said adding that war against terror also incurred huge damages to economic growth and development in terms of financial and human losses.
The finance minister said that agriculture sector, which was the mainstay of national economy was ignored badly by all previous regimes and resultantly productivity of agriculture produces drastically reduced, adding that country had to fulfill its domestic requirements through imports.
Due to reliance on imported food commodities, he said that import bill of the country swelled and gap between imports and exports widen, adding that Covid-19 pandemic had also put negative impact on global economies as well as the economy of the country.
Shaukat Tarin said that despite all these challenges economy was growing with an average of 5.1 per cent by June 2021, adding that it was not a bad growth rate during the prevailing circumstances.
The government had decided to switch over the inclusive growth by enhancing exports, compressing imports and incentivizing local industrial sector, besides allocating resources for increasing the productivity of agriculture sector to enhance output of major and minor crops.
The government had also introduced several measures for broadening the tax base, besides making efforts for plugging the tax leakages by reforming tax collection system and simplification of tax system to encourage compliance culture in the country, he added.
He said that track and trace system was also introduced in different industries that would also help in enhancing revenue collection, adding that single window tax system put on place to avoid multiple taxation. He said that 18-20 per cent tax to GDP was prerequisite to achieve inclusive economic growth in the country.
The government was taking other measures to promote local industrial sector and in this regard China was urged to shift its industrial units in Pakistan that would help in neutralization in the country and creating about 20 million additional jobs.
Besides, he said that the government was also taking measures for the promotion of small and medium enterprises by facilitating them and providing them access to credit, adding that there were over 4-5 million SMEs in the country but their access to credit was nominal.
Shaukat Tarin lauded the efforts of organizers of the symposium and said that it would help in formulation of medium to long term policy framework as well policy guidelines for foreign and local investors to develop a robust economy.
Speaking on the occasion, President Organization of Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ghias Khan said that Pakistan has an under developed petroleum sector, which offers immense investment opportunities for local as well as foreign investors.
He said that in midstream petroleum imports will cross $4 billion by 2030 and investment will catalyze the development of petroleum sector in Pakistan and demand of other related products will also increase, adding that petroleum policy was need of the time as many companies were keen to explore the opportunities existing in this particular sector.
He said in long run these investment will generate economic dividends and help in achieving imports substitutes, besides kick starting development of fertilizers, oil and auto industry.