Explaining that the current upward trend in inflation was due to an increase in food prices, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin said Thursday that inflation would start coming down from July this year.
In an interview with a private television channel here, the federal minister said that Pakistan was currently importing wheat and pulses, which led to a price hike.
He also attributed increasing inflation to huge tariff margins between farmers and wholesalers, saying that huge exploitation was going on which should be curtailed.
He said that the government plans to take administrative measures and build storages for creating strategic reserves of five basic commodities to check exploitation by hoarders by flooding the market when there is a shortage of any item.
In addition, he was of the view that there would be a base effect on inflation during the months of July, August, and September as the inflation was witnessed very high during the same months of last year.
In addition, he expressed the hope that international food prices, which currently are very high, would also come down and help ease inflation.
The minister said that the government did not intend to impose any new taxes during the upcoming fiscal year (2021-22) rather it would broaden the tax base with the use of technology to reach unreachable areas and enhance revenues.
Finance Minister addressing a news conference in Islamabad says price stability is top priority of govt to bring down inflation and provide relief to the peoplehttps://t.co/QLBUmGqYcy@FinMinistryPak @MoIB_Official
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) May 23, 2021
The minister reiterated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme was very tough for Pakistan. He said that IMF and the World Bank have been told that Pakistan could stop the increase in circular debt without increasing tariffs and resolved that the government will do whatever is in the national interest.
He said that despite covid-19, which had affected revenue collection, the collection target for the current fiscal year would exceed and the trend would be followed next year.
To a question about decreasing tax slabs from 11 to 5, the federal minister said a plan was underway to rationalize these but said the number would not come down to 5.
He said that the government had come with comprehensive plans in twelve different sectors to put the economy of the country on a sustainable growth path. These plans would be implemented on a short, medium and long term basis with the consultation of all stakeholders.
“All is ready, within 15 days it would be presented to Prime Minister,” he said while terming the plan as comprehensive planning by the government that has been undertaken first time in the country.
To a question on FBR innovations, the minister said that as many as 0.5 million points of sales would be installed to enhance revenues.
He also reiterated that harassment by the Federal Board of Revenue would be eliminated and a universal self-assessment strategy would be adopted which could be subjected to third party audit adding that a special team would be established to go after tax evaders.
To a question, the federal minister said that government would fulfill requirements of defence in the upcoming budget.
He said both Pakistan International Airlines and Pakistan Steel Mills would be restructured and thereafter sold.
The minister said that improvement in the economy goes to Hafeez Shaikh for doing consolidation and stabilization which led to this growth.