Islamabad: Federal Government has implemented rigorous financial discipline and achieved record 21 percent increase in recovery of taxes during the last four and half years, federal cabinet was informed on Wednesday.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira told media persons after the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf that the Finance Secretary informed the cabinet that the overall price situation has stabilized and the inflation in prices has been capped to single digit at 8.8 percent as compared to 25 percent in October 2008.
Following the policy of self dependence, the government has collectedRs 350 billion as taxes in the current year so far.
The overall revenue collection has doubled from Rs 1 trillion to Rs 2trillion in last four and half years.The government has raised in salaries of the employees by 115 per cent during its tenure, while the overall expenditure of the Federal Government has increased only by 6 percent against inflation of 11 to 12 percent.The country did not default on payment of loans both internal and external, he said. The tax to GDP ratio has increased by 0.5 per cent. However, the fiscal and monitory steps taken by the federal government were unfortunately not matched by the provincial governments and tax collection decreased in all the provinces.
He said that the cabinet was informed that the subsidy on power sector was affecting the financial prudence of the Federal Government. While the overall expenditure on the Federal Government is Rs 220 billion per annum, subsidy on power sector alone has reached the figure of Rs 30 billion per month.
In fact, the government is providing subsidy on power sector to keep the homes and hearths of the people at a subsidized rate.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira said that several Presidents of Pakistan in the past worked against the PPP. Rafiq Tarrar should be asked that for which service he was awarded the office of the President.
Moreover,he questioned that what was the reason behind issuance of licence to open a new bank to Younus Habib in 1992.Referring to the release of tapes involving Justice Quyyum and Nawaz Sharif's crony Saifur Rehman, he said that it was strange that the judge had to resign but the then Chief Minister who also happens to be the Chief Minister of Punjab again did not face any punishment.
He said the Punjab government had no majority in the provincial assembly, and it was being saved by crutches of turncoats from PML-Q.The then PPP government did not award Tamgha-e-Jamhooriat to one but the whole institution, he added.
Kaira reminded the media that after the 1990 election Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had issued a white paper revealing the details of rigging in 100 constituencies which is part of the history now."Since the time of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,to Benazir Bhutto and 2002 elections, either our mandates were stolen or our party was broken to install government of choice", said the minister.
Replying to a question, Kaira said that when the PPP-led government came to power in 2008,the economy was in tatters and there was recession in international markets, Pakistan had over 250,000 IDPs from Swat and Malakand. Moreover, the country was hit by
devastating floods in 2010 and 2011 and in such a situation bringing inflation from 25 percent in September 2008 to September 2012 was no mean achievement.
About the office of the President he said that it was a political office as it was part of the parliament. However, Kaira said that the President should be impartial but there is no bar on meetings of the leadership of political parties with him. About the perception of planned army operation in North Waziristan, he said that the government has already clarified that no such operation being done there. He said that if any decision would be made by political and military leadership, it will be shared with the media and the nation.
To a question about increase in public sector debt, he said that in presence of Fiscal Responsibility Act,the government cannot exceed the limit. If loans quantity has increased it shows that size of our national economy has registered growth.He said that in the past blanket subsidy was given by the previous governments which benefitted the poor and rich alike, but after coming to power the present government introduced targeted subsidy through Benazir Income Support Programme as the poor sections of the society need the same.He said that Compressed Natural Gas Owners Association has its own viewpoint which it will present in the Supreme Court, and perhaps they are going to file a review petition against direction to reduce the CNG price.
Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira informed the media that the Prime Minister said that on completion of its term, the main agenda of the present Government is to arrange free, fair and impartial elections in order to strengthen democracy. In this regard, the steps taken by the present Government have been appreciated everywhere in the world. He said that decision of the Supreme Court in case of Asghar Khan has exposed many political actors. We are making institutional efforts to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future. The Prime Minister also thanked the people of Gujar Khan for making his first public meeting a great success, he said.
Kaira said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik briefed the Cabinet on health condition of Malala Yousafzai. He informed the Cabinet that she is improving gradually but as per the doctors assessment, it will take quite some time for her to fully recover. As directed by the President and the Prime Minister, the Government of Pakistan is defraying all expenses on her treatment and Pakistan High Commissioner in UK has been designated as official guardian of Malala Yousafzai. He said that the Interior Minister also informed the Cabinet that the Government is looking after the treatment of the other two girls injured in the incident. The Cabinet appreciated the efforts of the Interior Minister in handling the international media on issues related to Malala incident.
The Cabinet considered and accorded its approval for initiation of negotiations for a Reciprocal Agreement between Government of Pakistan and Government of the United Arab Emirates and MoU between the Financial
Monitoring Unit (FMU) Pakistan and Financial Intelligence Unit United Arab Emirates.The Cabinet considered and accorded its approval for signing of MoU between Ministries of Defence of Iraq and Pakistan as regards Military Training of the Iraq Army; approval, in principle, of the General Agreement for Cooperation between John Hopkins University (JHU) USA and National Defence University (NDU) Pakistan; approval, in principle, to initiate negotiations on MoU between Pakistan and Egypt in the fields of Social Welfare; approval for ratification of MoU on Cooperation between Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR); approval for signing of agreement between Pakistan and Afro Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO) for the establishment of sixth regional office of AARDO at Akhter Hameed Khan National Centre for Rural Development (AHK-NCRD) at Islamabad and approval for ratification of Visa Agreement with India.
The Cabinet considered and accorded its approval for termination of Pakistan-Greece Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation of Income from the Operation of Ships and Aircraft. The Cabinet also gave ex-post Facto approval of MoU between Board of Investment (BOI) Pakistan and Concentrix (CX) Solar Korea Co. Ltd.
The Cabinet decided to have a special meeting on overall financial policy of the Government which will suggest steps to improve economy and adopt measures to improve energy situation. This meeting will also discuss support prices of agricultural crops requiring subsidy to improve produce and earn foreign exchange. The Prime Minister asked the Cabinet members to furnish questions and suggestions to the Cabinet Division for discussion and decision during the special Cabinet meeting.
The Cabinet appreciated the measures taken by the Secretary, Ministry of Water and Power to reduce loadshedding specially during the Eid, which was a great relief to the people of Pakistan. The Cabinet appreciated the overall performance of the Ministry of Water and Power under the leadership of new Secretary, Ministry of Water and Power.