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Post-budget briefing: Miftah rules out IMF bailout package

ISLAMABAD: Newly-appointed Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Saturday said the government has carefully prepared a balanced budget for the financial year 2018-19. 

Speaking at a post-budget press briefing in Islamabad, he said the budget is not only intent on provision of relief in various sectors, but is a balanced one.

The minister said the government didn’t intend to approach the Internal Monetary Fund (IMF) for bailout loans to tackle its balance of payments issue or shore up foreign reserves and expressed optimism that foreign exchange reserves will soar by June 30.

He said the incumbent government injected 12,000 megawatts of electricity into the national grid by setting up power projects.

Miftah said that he was happy that the tax revenue collection through Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been doubled for the coming fiscal year after a period of five years. Efforts are being made to bring more people to tax net, he added.

He said an incentive package for exports would soon be announced.

The minister said inflation has been kept at an average of 4.5% and fiscal transfers to provinces have increased from 1,300 billion rupees in 2013 to 2,300 billion in the next financial year.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar, who accompanied the finance minister during the presser, said the overall circular debt of the power sector stands at Rs 350 billion and added the government reduced power subsidy by Rs 100 billion every year.

Funds to the tune of Rs100 billion would be allocated to power sector in the coming fiscal year, he said adding that regulatory duty has been imposed on import of luxury items.

To a query, the finance minister said unlike previous governments, the PML-N government has announced a Rs 25 billion package for development of Karachi.

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