Dar tables PML-N’s fifth budget amid opposition protest

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday presented annual budget for next fiscal year in the National Assembly amid protest from opposition benches with analysts closely watching government’s final budget before the 2018 election.

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He in his budget speech it was first time in the history of the country that an elected government was presenting the fifth consecutive budget.

“This reflects strong democracy in the country”, he said at the onset of his budget speech.

“World’s credible institutions are predicting that Pakistan would join the G-20 by 2030.” Pakistan made it to the list of countries that saw significant reforms. Today our foreign reserves stand at over $21 billion.

The minister said Pakistan’s economy has made progress in every aspect, with its volume cross 300 billion US dollars and. He said the growth rate of GDP was at 5.28, highest in 10 years while fiscal deficit decreased to only 4 percent, he said adding that we have recommended six percent growth increase in GDP for 2017-18.

He said Per Capita income increased by 22% $1631 during the current fiscal year.

“Today Pakistan is on the track to fast progress. Over 40 increase is witnessed on the import of machinery this year. There is no load shedding in the industrial sector.

He said 81 percent increase was registered in tax collection during the last four years.

“Our agriculture sector is improving as production of wheat and maize crops had registered significant increase.

The finance minister said a total of Rs700 billion agricultural loans were given to farmers during the current fiscal year.

The minister said the services sector saw growth of 5.9 percent in 2016-2017.

He said that remittances from overseas Pakistanis had jumped 40 percent. Dar said that investment worth Rs97 billion was being made in the Pakistan stock market.

Dar said the government intends to give women representation in the board of directors of limited companies.

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