Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail on Wednesday said the government was considering promoting exports of the country at an aggressive level through an incentive of significant tax waiver to companies which could enhance their exports by 10% of its productions.
He was addressing the 5th edition of summit ‘Leaders in Islamabad’ with the theme ‘Imagineering The Future’ at a local hotel on Wednesday.
Addressing the Leaders of Islamabad – Business Summit, along with Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman as the guest of honor, he said that there were four principles – living within means, promoting exports, increasing agricultural productivity and focusing on children’s education – that if followed would set the country on the path of growth and development.
There was a dire need to identify the mistakes that had caused Pakistan’s progress to be slower compared to other countries, Ismail said.
The finance minister noted that the country had a huge debt burden, including a deficit of Rs5.2 trillion last year and Rs3.5tr during the last four years. In comparison, the deficit stood at Rs1.6tr during the five-year tenure of the previous PML-N government, he said. The minister said that the country’s debt had more than doubled during the past four years. He added, however, that it would be contained at Rs4tr during the current year. Ismail said there would not have been a problem if the debt had been used for enhancing productivity.
The minister said due to the measures introduced by the incumbent government, the inflows of dollars had outpaced outflows during the current month.
Secondly, the minister said, there was a dire need to focus on enhancing exports through diversification. No attention had been given to the export sector during the past 11 years because of which there was no substantial growth and instead, exports declined, he said.
Ismail noted that the country had imported 1.1 million tonnes of wheat so far this year, pointing out that money spent on importing wheat could be saved by boosting agricultural productivity by supporting farmers and incorporating the latest technology.
A task force had been created to address the agriculture sector’s problems, Radio Pakistan quoted the minister as saying.
The minister also highlighted the importance of separating rural and urban poverty and making strategies that would make the poor richer.
Ismail said that successive governments had failed to provide adequate education since the 1970s and even the private sector could not deliver. If children were properly educated, the problems of future generations would be solved, he added.
Senator Sherry Rahman spoke about the urgency of required action to combat climate change. She said climate change is a matter of national security which affected adversely food and energy security, supply chain, infrastructure, and precious lives of the citizens across the country.
One-fifth of Pakistan is submerged at present due to heavy monsoon rains which have wreaked havoc on the infrastructure in many parts of the country especially Balochistan and Sindh. Pakistan is at the front of climate change and we would like all corporates to interweave sustainability goals in their mission statements. She said that greenwashing has to end and genuine efforts have to be made.
She also mentioned that they are trying to move the markers for 2050 down to 2030 as climate change is accelerating and our pace needs to match it.