Not a single new tax’ on agriculture or construction sectors, Dar tells NA
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday stressed there would be no further taxes on the agricultural and construction sectors in the wake of a $3 billion pact secured by Pakistan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month.
Addressing the ctoday, Dar recalled reading reports in “about a dozen newspapers” that news taxes would be introduced for the agriculture and construction sectors due to “strict conditions” put forward by the IMF.
He then went on to clarify: “I am giving a categoric statement here that not even a single new tax will applied, neither on agriculture nor on construction [and] real estate [sectors].”
His statement comes more than a week after the IMF’s Executive Board green-lit a $3bn stand-by agreement (SBA), which was secured on June 30 and offered some respite to Pakistan amid risks of default.
The long-awaited staff-level pact had been signed days after the government made changes to next year’s fiscal budget, including Rs215bn in additional taxes and expenditure cuts worth Rs85bn.
Today, expanding further upon the “rumours”, Dar said that the nation had “endured [enough] pain” till now in order to secure the IMF programme, and that he had delivered on it.
Dar termed the rumours a “result of an extremely serious misunderstanding”, reiterating that such reports were run by about a dozen publications.
He further said that the reports had led to a “wave of concern among the agricultural community in villages”, who he said were fearing what new tax measures will be taken.
The minister recalled his windup speech when he announced changes in the FY 2024 budget, adding that the government has already “taken prior actions” — implying no new measures will be taken.
“Not a single penny’s additional burden will be put on them, whether it is the real estate or the agricultural sector,” Dar vowed.
At the outset of his address, the minister listed three documents relating to the IMF pact, which he requested that they be kept in the NA’s library so that they were accessible to all lawmakers.
Describing the documents, Dar said they comprised a letter of intent signed on June 30, a memorandum of economic and financial policies, and a technical memorandum of understanding.
Dar stated that all the said documents will be available on the finance ministry’s website by 12am tonight.