PTI’s finance minister Tarin terms growth targets in budget 2022-23 ‘delusional’

Accuses government officials of spin doctoring on PTI's achievements
<p>Former Finance Minister and PTI Senator Shaukat Tarin. Photo: APP</p>

Former Finance Minister and PTI Senator Shaukat Tarin. Photo: APP

Former Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Saturday claimed the PML-N government has set unrealistic growth targets in the budget 2022-23 which it would never be able to meet.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad along with other Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders, he said that the incumbent government itself endorsed the economic performance of the PTI government which witnessed record growth in almost every sector.

Tarin said the government officials are acting as ‘spin doctors’ and lying about the figures which were shown in the Pakistan Economic Survey 2021-22.

Responding to the government’s claims that the PTI government left the economy in dire straits, he said the budget has a deficit of Rs4.2 trillion, 3.6% of GDP, as he had predicted, adding that the government officials should realize that the numbers do not lie.

The former finance minister said large scale manufacturing (LSM), housing, services sector, remittances, and exports all witnessed robust growth during PTI’s tenure.

Doubting the growth targets set by the PML-N government in the budget, Tarin said the government has fixed the target of 5% GDP growth with a share of the agricultural sector at 3.9%. He claimed the target to be unrealistic with existing water crisis and soaring prices of fertilizers.

He said the government has set the target of 7.1% growth in the manufacturing sector, adding that PTI’s growth rate in the sector was 7.2%. Tarin added that it was impossible because of the power shortage, hiked fuel prices, and abolishment of the package given by the PTI government.

The ex-minister said the services sector, set at a 5% growth target, will also suffer due to the slapping of taxes on the banking sector and rising transportation costs.

He said the inflation figures are also suspected as the SPI was around 13% before the record hike in fuel prices. Hence, he added that according to their estimates, the inflation target set by the government was ‘highly suspected’.

Tarin said the government will impose a petroleum levy of up to Rs35 which would bring another storm of inflation in the country. He added that the government has decided to impose a levy on the gas sector while the fertilizer companies were not already paying the one already imposed despite the notice of the Supreme Court.

Talking about subsidies in the power sector, the former minister said the PTI government gave Rs1 trillion worth of subsidies to the sector. He added that due to poor and costly agreements of the PML-N government, the PTI government paid capacity payments of Rs850 billion, adding that it would swell to Rs1,400 billion this year.

Meantime, the ex-minister said the subsidy has been slashed to Rs570 billion.

He asserted the government would have to bring a mini-budget to meet expenses.

Tarin said the revenue target set by the PTI government was Rs6.1 trillion and the fiscal year ended at Rs6 trillion. He criticized that the incumbent government has only increased Rs1 trillion in its target, adding that the minimum target would have been Rs 7.9 trillion.

The former minister said the PTI government launched five new programs in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) including tax broadening, track and trace, etc but the government has stopped all of them as it resorted to its old ways.

Tarin claimed that he left the data of 43 million new taxpayers which the government is not using.

Impending crises

Also speaking on the occasion, former energy minister Omar Ayub claimed that the fuel prices would exceed Rs300 per liter in the coming months, adding that it would destroy agricultural and industrial sectors and the inflation would batter down a common man.

He claimed the electricity tariff would reach Rs40 per unit with inclusion of taxes, adding that the load-shedding will increase in the future due to lack of generation as the government does not have the money to pay power plants.

Citing a determination of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), the ex-energy ministry said the people will see a 400% rise in their gas bills.



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