ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin on Friday told the Senate that Pakistan would start using the Saudi oil facility on deferred payment from next month.
Responding to various questions in the House, he said the government had tried not to pass on the full burden of increase in the prices of petroleum products internationally.
“We have reduced the sales tax and Petroleum Development Levy to provide relief to the masses,” he added.
The minister said the country’s foreign exchange reserves had increased over the last one year which would help reduce pressure on the rupee.
Pakistan, he said, received 3 billion dollars from Saudi Arabia in the month of December 2021 for a period of one year at 4 percent interest rate.
The exports and remittances were increasing while the trade deficit reduced by 1.5 billion dollars last month.
Replying a supplementary question, Tarin said Pakistan had met 27 out of 28 conditions of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“We have fulfilled our targets” and hopefully the country would come out of the grey list in the next review meeting of the FATF, he added.
The minister said it was a fact that the import bill jumped by 70% to $33 billion in July-November 2021 as compared to $19.5 billion in the corresponding months of 2020.
Increase in the import bill was mainly due to substantial rise in the prices of oil, gas, coal and food commodities in the international markets, he added.
Moreover, he said, increase in the investment in capital goods, raw material and intermediate goods due to enhanced activity in the industrial sector also contributed to increase in the import bill.
Significant increase in the import of vaccine had also impacted the import bill, Tarin added.
Highlighting the steps taken for curtailing imports, he said the SBP had imposed 100 per cent Cash Margin Requirement (CMR) on import of 525 items.
The government, he said, had increased the regulatory duty from 15 % on import of various vehicles. Likewise, regulatory duty had been levied on import of multiple luxury / non-essential items.
Responding to various questions, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said several projects worth billions of rupees had been launched for the development of Gwadar and other parts of Balochistan.
He said the ministry led by a woman minister had achieved third position among the best performing ones.
The previous regime had ignored women but the present government had also conducted a number of activities under the trade facilitation for women entrepreneurs.
To a question, he said Pakistan had played a key role in restoration of peace in Afghanistan.
The accelerated Development Plan for Southern Balochistan was prepared in consultation with all the stakeholders.
All projects had been duly approved by the competent forums. Funds were being allocated and released for the approved projects sponsored by various federal ministries/ divisions, which were being executed by federal and provincial departments, as per prevailing procedure and assigned responsibilities, he added.
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