Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh says economic indicators have started showing positive results due to steps taken by the government.
Addressing a news conference along with members of government's economic team in Islamabad on Wednesday afternoon, he said initial focus of the government was to give stability to the economy on external and internal fronts.
The advisor said agreements were signed with IMF and other financial institutions, besides seeking cooperation of friendly countries to give stability to the economy. He said consequently, the current account deficit was reduced and imports were curbed.
Dr Hafeez Shaikh said an austerity program was adopted by the government in which civilian expenditure was brought down by 50 billion rupees, while military budget was frozen.
He said additional amounts were earmarked for less developed areas of the country, including FATA district and Balochistan.
Dr Hafeez Shaikh said due to the adjustments and steps taken by the government's economic team, exports have registered an increase which is 2.3 billion dollars in July this year while imports have reduced from 5.5 billion dollars to around 4 billion dollars. Similarly, Current Account Deficit has been reduced by 73 per cent.
The Advisor said 580 billion rupees as revenue was collected in first two months of the current fiscal year, showing an increase of 25 per cent in comparison with same period last of year.
He said results of tax efforts are on positive trajectory and domestic income tax in August registered an increase of 39 per cent. He said number of tax filers has now increased to 2.5 million.
Dr Hafeez Shaikh said it has been decided to make refunds in the verified sales tax from 2015 up till now.
The Advisor said a system has been devised which will be hassle free, and without the involvement of human staff of FBR. Now, any exporter will be immediately refunded his claim, on 16th of each month.
The system named FASTER has become operational from 30th of last month. The purpose of this step is to give facilitation to business community.
Referring to other revenue sources, Dr Hafeez Shaikh said fifty per cent partial payment amounting to 70 billion rupees in Cellular Licence Renewal has been received by the government.
Dr Hafeez Shaikh said ECNEC has approved development projects worth 579 billion rupees, of which 250 billion rupees have specifically been reserved for agriculture sector, as it is one of the main priorities of PTI government to bring down poverty.
Dr Hafeez Shaikh said a major change is being brought in decision making relating to public projects. He said the government departments have also been permitted to approve projects up to 2 billion rupees, from existing 50 crore rupees limit.
He said in order to improve performance of public sector departments, the process of privatization is being accelerated.
On non-tax revenue, he said a sizable increase is being witnessed. He said privatization of LNG plants will yield 300 billion rupees.
Dr Hafeez Shaikh said private credit has increased to 120 billion rupees from 80 billion rupees of last year. This will ensure that more money will circulate in economic activities, improving prosperity and creation of jobs.
He said in 8 months, an increase of 120 billion rupees in power revenue was witnessed due to efficient working and taking action against the power thieves.
On GIDC, he said the government has requested the Supreme Court to provide guidance on the issue. He said any decision in this regard will be made while keeping in view the legal requirements, public interest and transparency.