ISLAMABAD – The ministry of finance has started consultative process with key stakeholders including provinces to seek valuable inputs for formulation of a people-friendly and growth-oriented budget.
Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Fayyaz Ahmed Tarin on Tuesday held meetings with the provincial finance ministers to seek valuable inputs for formulation of a people friendly growth-oriented budget.
Finance Minister for Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KP) Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra called on federal minister for finance and revenue. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood and Secretary Finance Division Kamran Ali Afzal were also present during the meeting.
The provincial finance minister from KP briefed the finance minister about efforts undertaken by the provincial government to curtail expenditure and rationalise spending with a key focus on providing maximum relief to the masses amid Covid-19 pandemic. He also outlined measures taken to enhance provincial tax collection by expanding tax base and reducing the number of taxes.
The provincial finance minister KP further apprised about commitment of the KP government to streamline pay and pension expenditure which takes the biggest chunk of the overall budget.
In his remarks, the finance minister Shaukat Fayyaz Ahmed Tarin urged the provincial administration to adhere to strict financial discipline and work out modalities to rationalise expenditure and divert savings towards socio-economic development in the province particularly amid Covid-19 and in post Covid scenario. He stressed to stimulate economic activity throughout-of-box thinking for enhancing revenues, rationalising workforce and harmonising tax structure aiming at improving service delivery in the province.
While discussing budget proposals, the federal finance minister stressed that education and health are the key priority areas and must be given preference during the budget making exercise. He encouraged consultative process between the federal government and federating units for effective resource mobilisation.
Later, Finance Minister for Punjab Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht also called on the federal minister for finance and revenue at the finance division.
The provincial finance minister briefed the federal finance minister about the overall fiscal position and upcoming budget considerations during the meeting. He highlighted the steps taken by the Punjab government to provide maximum relief to the vulnerable segments of the society during these testing times. He spelled out the vision and commitment of the Punjab government to increase revenues, control expenditure, job creation, reduction of poverty and facilitating agriculture, industrial and service sectors to tap true potential of these sectors for an export-led growth.
In his remarks, the finance minister emphasised the need for value-addition in budget making exercise. He urged the provincial finance minister to rationalise expenditure and harmonise taxation policies for a growth-oriented budget.
The finance minister held meetings with the provincial finance ministers as a part of an overall consultative process with key stakeholders including provinces to seek valuable inputs for formulation of a people friendly growth-oriented budget.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Fayyaz Ahmed Tarin reiterated that government will make all necessary interventions in collaboration with international development partners for human resource development and socio-economic uplift of the nation.
He made these remarks in a meeting with Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan at the Finance Division. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary EAD and other senior officers also participated in the meeting.
Secretary EAD briefed the finance minister about the ongoing foreign funding portfolio with bilateral and multilateral development partners.
While reviewing the foreign funding portfolio, the finance minister outlined the priority areas for financial and technical support. He emphasised the need for financing agricultural package which will include provision of commodity warehousing, cold storage facilities and irrigation water management to strengthen infrastructure for boosting agricultural productivity.
Similarly, foreign funding would be utilised for supporting social protection and skill development programmes to protect under-privileged groups of the society and to empower youth by imparting valuable skills. It will also include swift processing of microcredit loans for youth empowerment.
The finance minister further directed to focus on strengthening civil amenities such as provision of clean drinking water, solid waste management and other such facilities in under-developed areas. He expressed firm commitment of the government for socio-economic development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve a better and more sustainable future for the people of Pakistan.