Miftah Ismail stresses balance between income and expenses

Says govt making efforts to bring previous year’s Rs5,200 billion fiscal deficit down to Rs4,000b

By: News Desk
Published: 12:59 PM, 17 Aug, 2022
Miftah Ismail stresses balance between income and expenses
Caption: TV grab.
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Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said Wednesday while addressing the Business Leaders’ Summit in Islamabad, “A balance has to be created between our income and expenses,” reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

He said, “Last year, the fiscal deficit was Rs5,200 billion. We are making efforts to bring down to Rs4,000 billion. Four guiding principles will have to be adopted for the betterment of the national economy.”

He added, “Pakistan is not there where it should be. Pakistan is not there where we have the capacity to reach. Countries everywhere in the East and the West have gone ahead of us. We must have made some mistake.”

He stressed, “We should organise our expenses according to our resources. The savings rate in the private sector of Pakistan is low. This year, there will be a financial deficit of Rs4,000 billion. In our previous tenure, there was a financial deficit of Rs1,600 billion.”

He questioned, “Rs4,000 billion are to be taken from other countries. We borrowed from the world but did not use it wisely. Has our production and exports increased?”

Miftah highlighted that self-reliance, export promotion, farm productivity enhancement and educating children were four basic principles to lead the country towards growth and development. He said Pakistan was not at the place where it should have been now according to the vision of Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The minister said there was a dire need to identify the mistakes that kept Pakistan behind in progress as compared to the other countries.

The minister identified key principles to lead the country towards progress which include ‘living within means’ arguing that unless the income matches the expenditures, the country could not progress.

He said that the country had witnessed huge debt burdens, citing last year’s Rs5200 billion deficit while it remained around Rs3500 billion per year for last four years whereas the deficit was recorded at Rs1600 per annum during the 5 years of Pakistan Muslim League government and it was even less in Pakistan Peoples’ Party government.

The minister said that the debt has more than doubled during the past four years, however it would be contained at Rs4000 billion during the current year.

He said, the country had to borrow Rs4000 billion from other countries to meet its expenditures.

He maintained that had the debt been utilized for enhancing productivity it was no problem however when there is no productivity the debt only burdens the generations.

The minister said due to the measures introduced by the incumbent government, the inflows of dollars have increased by around $800 million compared to outflows during the current month.

Secondly, the minister said, there was a dire need to have focus on enhancing exports from the country by diversifying the field. He said, no proper heed was paid to this sector as the exports form the country could not witness any substantial growth during past eleven years. Rather, the exports receded in terms of quantity.

He said, the government introduced import substitution initiative besides taking measures to encourage companies to export 10 percent of their produce.

Third, the minister said, enhancing agriculture productivity was imperative for progress.

He said, the country was witnessing around 15 percent wheat harvesting losses whereas as it had to import 1.1 million tons of grains worth $450 million to meet its requirement.

He said instead of importing, if proper attention was given to agriculture and harvesting losses are curtailed, it would reduce import bill.

The minister also highlighted the importance of separating rural and urban poverty and highlighted the importance of making strategies that would make the poor rich instead of make rich people richer.

The minister said the fourth principle was educating the children, saying that every 10th uneducated child in the world was Pakistani as country’s half of children population was out of schools.

Miftah said, since 1970 governments have failed to provide desired education, even private sector could not deliver, though there are certain exceptions. He said, if a generation of children is properly educated it would resolve problems of coming generations.