No single new tax would be imposed on real estate, agriculture or construction sectors, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told the National Assembly on Friday.
“Due to false news related to the tax, there was concern among the people involved in agriculture,” he said on the floor of the House where he presented the documents of the IMF agreement during the NA session.
His clarification comes after the international lender released the country report on July 19. Earlier this month, the executive board of the IMF approved the agreement between Pakistan and the IMF for the $3 billion Stand-by Arrangement for nine months.
In its letter of intent to the IMF, the government has assured the lender of raising additional revenue by targeting under-taxed sectors such as agriculture and construction. In the letter, which was part of the 120-page report, the country added that it would restrain non-priority spending including energy sector subsidies, public wage bills and pensions.
He was of the view that the country has endured much as it could have in order to clinch the IMF deal. Dar added that the country has delivered on all the prior actions.
“I think this [tax on real estate, construction, and agriculture] is the result of a serious misunderstanding,” the finance czar said. “Not a single rupee burden would further be imposed on them whether it is real estate sector or construction.”
Dar said that he had promised in the budget session to present the documents related to IMF before Parliament so that the members can get aware of it.
“The purpose of presenting the details of the IMF agreement is to maintain transparency. All the documents are also published on the ministry’s website,” he said and reiterated that when the government came to power foreign exchange reserves stood at Rs14 billion.
The State Bank of Pakistan almost doubled on Friday after increasing by more than $4.2 billion. They reached $8.7 billion during the week ending July 14.
He added that further measures would be taken to increase foreign exchange reserves.
He blamed the previous government of PTI for the tattered economy.
“We have put in place such a policy to curb inflation,” Dar said.
“We are trying our best to have the 9th review of the IMF agreement, which was delayed due to the lapses of the previous government. Our effort is to follow the same path until the caretaker government comes,” he said.