One of the biggest problems for Pakistan’s economy is the influence of the elite, says Finance Minister Asad Umar.
He expressed the belief that this influence can be reduced if not finished.
The finance minister was speaking at a pre-budget seminar held in Islamabad on Tuesday. The withholding tax net has increased, he said, adding that many of the 41 barriers to trade have been finished.
The property sector needs reforms, he said, adding that withholding tax for non-filers in the banking sector will be removed. Withholding tax for filers has already been removed.
He assured the audience of a reduction in the withholding tax rate. The finance minister said world organisations express anger over any initiative that is beneficial for a poor country.
He said if one hasn’t made money through illegal means, they should have nothing to hide.
A day earlier, the finance minister had said that the federal government is likely to present a new budget for the fiscal year 2019-20 in the National Assembly and Senate on May 24.
“Earlier, May 17 was proposed for the presentation of the new budget, but now May 24 is under consideration and a decision will soon be taken in consultation with the National Assembly speaker,” he had said.
To a question regarding a possible agreement with the IMF, Umar said both parties are very close to an agreement for a new loan programme as all basic differences have been overcome.
So it doesn’t matter whether a $6 billion or $10 billion agreement is signed with the IMF, he clarified, adding that there is no “unbridgeable” gap between Pakistan and IMF for the proposed loan agreement.
Pakistan is just a few weeks away from securing a possible IMF bailout, he said.