Long-term financing needs: steps under consideration, says Waqar

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Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood said on Wednesday the federal government was considering setting up Infrastructure Bank and Mortgage Refinancing Institution to meet the long-term financing needs. The Secretary Finance disclosed this here during the meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Finance, deliberating on recommendations of Senators for incorporation in the Finance Bill 2011-12. Waqar did not give further details as all he said was that these proposals were seriously being considered by the government and hopefully would be finalised soon. The chairman of the committee expressed concern over the Cabinet decision to wind up the Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan (IDBP) despite the committee decision for the restructuring of the IDBP. Waqar said problem of food security was a serious challenge to the country because of one or two crops and the country could face 2007-like situation. The wheat shortage in 2007 forced the government to import it by paying additional Rs 40 billion against the price at which it was exported. The wheat or other agriculture products less than the domestic requirements would force the government to import them. He said Rs 950 support price of 40-kg wheat determined by the government in 2008 has now become comparable to wheat price in the international market. Some members expressed concern over the rising prices of agriculture inputs especially increase in fertilise prices with DAP going up from Rs 2300 to Rs 4800 and urea from Rs 600 to Rs 1300 and it may touch Rs 2000. The proposal of land reforms was strongly opposed by Pakistan People s Party (PPP) Senators, Safdar Abbasi and Sughra Imam as opposition continued boycott of the committee meeting in protest against what they described unfair manipulation in election for leader of the opposition in the Senate. The Senate Standing Committee also proposed that the finance ministry must ensure that supplementary grants are submitted to the committee on the end of every quarter. The finance ministry did not agree to the proposal of the senator for increasing the proposed income tax limit of Rs 350,000 from next fiscal year to Rs 400,000 due to impact on revenue. The Secretary Finance said this was not possible because of huge impact it would have on revenue collection and stated that proposed increase of Rs 50,000 in income tax limit would have Rs 800 million revenue impact and would exclude 80,000 taxpayers from the tax net.

Courtesy : Business Recorder

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