Technology Startups will be given tax breaks, Budget 2017-18

Andrew Cummings
May 27, 2017

Pakistan on Friday proposed to increase its defence budget to Rs. 920 billion, a hike of seven percent, during the government's federal budget announcement. This represents a historic increase of 81% in the last 4 years with average annual growth of 20%.

During Nawaz Sharif first year of current government, inflation remained high at 8.5 percent during FY 2013-14.

"We had set a challenging target and I am satisfied with the growth", Dar said.

India took Pakistan to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague over the matter, which in an interim order stopped Pakistan from executing Jadhav, and said India should have been given consular access as per the Vienna Convention.

"The farmers were demanding to call off general sales tax (GST), however the crackdown by the government reflects their dictatorial approach", he said.

Last year, Islamabad recorded a 5.28 percent GDP growth and the volume of its economy crossed United States dollars 300 billion.

The opposition chanted "go nawaz go" slogans and eventually walked out of the House as a protest while the finance minister was presenting the budget.

Dar added the per capita income grew by 6.4 percent in the financial year 2017 to $1,628.80 as compared to 1.1 percent last year. "This was achieved through higher revenue collection through improved administration and broadening of the tax base, undoing decades-old concessionary SRO and curtailing non-development expenditure of the government", said Dar.

Saying that lack of research and development work in the agriculture sector was a major bottleneck, he asked the private sector to join hands with the government as joint ventures and collaboration in the food sector could help exploit its huge potential.

Speaking to parliament, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the Public Sector Development Program would have its funding increased from 715 billion rupees ($6.8 billion) to 1,001 billion rupees for 2017-18.

Likewise, he said that under the budgetary proposal, Rs 6 billion has been allocated for housing sector.

Dar said the minimum wage will be set at Rs15,000, while announcing a 10% increase in the basic salary of government employees and pensioners.

Highlighting the energy sector reforms, Dar said 10,000MW will be added to the national grid by 2018.

· Industrial sector growth recorded 5.05 per cent in outgoing fiscal year as compared to 5.8 per cent last year.

In addition, the finance minister announced that farmers of Balochistan will be given subsidy on electricity of tube wells.

Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah said the peasants were even far from red zone when they were lashed out.

"If anything, it is not (overvalued) more than 5%", he said.

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