ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed the government’s economic team to suggest out-of-box solutions for reducing the burden of indirect taxes, on one hand, and also to ensure balance between the state revenue and expenditure, on the other.
He also directed the finance minister to minutely look into wheat procurement process and various administrative costs that were contributing towards raising the price of wheat. The prime minister was presiding over a meeting here on the steps to bring down the prices of essential commodities. The meeting was attended by federal ministers, advisors, special assistants to the PM (SAPMs) and senior government officials, a press release issued by the PM Media Wing here said.
Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh told the prime minister that a comprehensive and efficient plan was being prepared for wheat procurement and rationalization of administrative costs involved in the process. SAPM Dr Waqar Masood briefed the prime minister about duty structure on imported edible oil and pulses etc. He also presented a comparative analysis with other regional countries. The prime minister said his foremost priority was to provide maximum relief to the poor segments of society. Every effort should be made to lessen the burden of indirect taxes and provide relief to the people, he added. Discussing wheat and flour prices, the prime minister directed that every single penny, being spent on unnecessary administrative expenditures, must be saved.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the country had made its record for remittances above $2 billion for eight consecutive months and acknowledged in this regard the contribution of overseas Pakistanis. The Prime Minister mentioned that remittances from overseas Pakistanis were $2.27 billion in January, which 19 percent more than last January. He said to date in this fiscal year, the remittances were up by 24 percent as compared to last year.
“This is a record for our country and I thank our overseas Pakistanis,” he said in a tweet. Imran Khan said the industrial sector also showed good result with sustained growth.
“Large scale manufacturing saw another double digit growth month in December 2020 – 11.4% growth vs Dec 2019,” he said.
The cumulative growth from July to December was recorded above eight percent, he added. The inflow of workers’ remittances in to the country witnessed 19 percent increase in January 2021, as compared to same month of the previous year. The remittances remained above $2 billion for 8th straight month as during the corresponding month, the inflow was recorded at $2.3 billion as compared to the inflow of $1.907 billion in January 2020.
On average, the remittances surged by 24 percent during July-January (2020-21) from $13.28 billion in Jul-Jan (2019-20) to $16.476 billion in same period of the current fiscal year, according to data released by State Bank of Pakistan on Monday.
The country wise detail shows that the highest inflows came from Saudi Arabia as Pakistan received $553 million during the month as compared to $531.6 million in January 2020 and $624 million in December 2020. From UAE, the country received $492.5 million in January 2021 against the inflows worth of $463.5 million in same month of last year.
The overseas Pakistanis living in USA dispatched $203.2 million as compared to $148.8 million in January last year, whereas from UK, the workers’ remittances were recorded at $303 million against the $201 million. Similarly the cash inflow from European Union countries jumped from $142 million in January 2020 to $228.8 million in January 2021.
From other GCC countries including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, the inflows also increased to $271.2 million as compared to $260 million in January 2020. From Australia the workers’ remittances inflow jumped by about around 89 percent as it increased from $27.4 million to $51.9 million in the corresponding month of current year.
Likewise workers’ remittances in the corresponding month from Malaysia, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, and Japan stood at $14.9 million, $8.5 million, $4.3 million, $47.6 million, and $6.2 million, respectively.