ISLAMABAD: The main focus of the “inclusive growth-oriented” federal budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 was to uplift the poor so they would not have to wait for the trickledown effect of economic progress, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin said Saturday.
For the last 74 years, low-income people have been waiting for this trickledown effect, but their condition could not be improved and they remained deprived of houses, businesses, cash and health facilities, the finance minister said, while addressing the post-budget press conference in Islamabad.
He said the government was now directly targeting the poorest of the poor and facilitating them with different initiatives to upgrade their life standard without waiting for the trickledown effect, which he said needed around 20 years of stable economic growth to take effect.
He said that this was not an easy task.
The minister said that the government, through this budget, will utilise the ‘bottom-up-approach’, for around six million low-income households.
Under this initiative, every household will be provided a Rs500,000 interest-free business loan. Every farming household will be given Rs150,000 in loans for every crop, Rs250,000 interest-free farming loans and Rs200,000 interest free loans to buy tractors and machinery.
He said that low-interest bearing housing loans up to Rs2 million will be provided to help people buy their houses and besides that every household will be provided a Sehat Card to facilitate them in times of need.
In addition, the minister said that one person from every household will be provided free technical training to ensure employability so that the family earns respectable income.
The minister said that no doubt the government does not have space to provide these loans, which could be done through wholesale financing of commercial banks for which the government would be providing guarantees of recovery.
The minister said that the identification of the poorest households would be done through a non-political survey all over Pakistan. “We will not play politics with the poor,” the minister added.
Another primary focus of the government was to promote exports and take them up to 20% of the GDP from just the current 8%, he said, adding that to bring stability in the country, there was dire need to enhance exports.
The minister said that for the first time, a growth oriented budget was presented which introduced innovation to enhance revenue collection, expansion of incentives for exporters, abolished duty on local industry and brought innovation in the auto industry.