Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Ishaq Dar, delivered a comprehensive assessment of the FY2023-24 budget during a post-budget press conference in Islamabad. He highlighted the distinctive nature of this budget compared to previous traditional budgets, emphasising its focus on fostering economic growth.
Dar shared that the coalition government is committed to addressing the concerns of traders before finalising the federal budget in parliament. In order to accomplish this, he announced the formation of two committees to address business-related issues and technical matters.
These committees, customary within the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), will be established by the FBR chairman by Monday. Their purpose is to ensure comprehensive consideration of any overlooked aspects and provide a platform for individuals to voice genuine reservations.
The finance minister refuted claims of introducing new taxes this year and emphasised the government’s efforts to provide substantial relief. He defended the allocation of Rs950 billion and Rs200 billion from the Public and Private Partnership mode, considering it a notable achievement. Dar reiterated the budget’s departure from traditional approaches, with a strong emphasis on fostering progress and economic growth.
Dar expressed the government’s determination to rectify past economic losses by promoting employment opportunities, curbing inflation, and generating more jobs. Consequently, he anticipated a decrease in the policy interest rate.
The minister projected inflation to be around 21 per cent in the upcoming fiscal year (2023-24), while estimating government expenditure at Rs14,040 billion.
Addressing the power sector, Dar allocated over Rs1900 billion exclusively for its development. He stressed the importance of implementing necessary reforms to improve this sector. He also clarified that no new subsidies would be introduced in the renewable energy sector, despite its prominence in the budget.
Furthermore, the minister addressed rumors regarding the withdrawal of edible oil, refuting such claims and affirming that no such action had been taken.