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Hafeez Shaikh reviews economic outlook, budget preparations

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, has chaired a meeting to review the economic outlook amid COVID-19 crisis and budget preparations for the new fiscal year, ARY News reported on Friday.

The matters related to the upcoming budget FY2020-21 and impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the nationals have been discussed in the meeting.

Shaikh urged exhibition of responsibility into financial affairs in view of the alarming situation of the national economy due to coronavirus.

He asked ministries and departments to present recommendations for the new budget besides tabling suggestions to further reduce expenses and utilisation of available resources. The concerned authorities should also consider issuance of Shariah-compliant bonds.

Shaikh was of the view that the reduction in policy rate would save up to Rs50 billion in term of loan payments.

A briefing was also given by the secretary finance regarding the expenses and subsidies. It emerged that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was affected against debt volume after witnessing a visible decline in economic activities.

The participants of the meeting have also exchanged views on the local debts, T-bills and payment of loans besides holding discussion over the economic review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Earlier on Thursday, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, while addressing a seminar on COVID-19 impacts on the economy, had said that they would be fortunate if Rs 3900 billion is collected in terms of taxes during the ongoing fiscal year owing to coronavirus situation faced by the country.

He had said that it was difficult for them to ascertain the losses economy suffered due to coronavirus pandemic.

Hafeez Shaikh had said that before the pandemic, they expected to achieve a tax target of upto Rs 4800 billion, however, in the current scenario, they would be fortunate if they achieve a target of Rs 3900 billion.

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