ISLAMABAD—Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday presented the Rs: 5,103.8 billion budget for 2017-2018. The budget size is 4.3 percent higher than the size of the budget estimates 2016-17. The minister described the budget as incentive and relief-laden federal budget that he said will spur growth and development.

The budget envisages merger of fifty percent adhoc relief allowance granted to civil employees and adhoc allowances of 2009 and 2010 for personnel of armed forces with the salary and ten percent adhoc relief allowance on the basic salary after merger. Zarb-e-Azb allowance for armed forces personnel will be in addition to this.

The Minister announced ten percent increase in pensions. Minimum wages have been increased from the existing 14000 to fifteen thousand per month.

Several allowances of different categories of employees have also been increased. These include sixty percent increase in daily allowance rate, enhancement of orderly allowance from 12000 to 14000 rupees, increase in the rate of burial grant from 1600 to 4800 and from 5000 to 15000 rupees; constant Attendant Allowance from 3000 to 7000 rupees and fifty percent increase in design allowance.

Batman allowance and Hardlying Pay for Pakistan Navy and different allowance of Pakistan Post have also been increased. Personnel of frontier constabulary would get a fixed monthly allowance of eight thousand rupees irrespective of their deployment in any part of the country.

The finance minister said the government will bear an additional burden of 125 billion rupees because of relief to government employees.

The finance minister announced launching of a new national saving scheme for the welfare of family members of martyrs. Under this scheme, heirs of martyrs of Pakistan Army, police and other security institutions will get an extra profit.

Pakistan Savings will bring their branches online and introduce ATM cards and mobile and internet banking for the benefit of its customers. The budget of Pakistan Baitul Maal would be increased from the existing 4 to 6 billion rupees.

He announced revival of the scheme launched by PML (N) government in 1999 envisaging payment of all dues of HBFC mortgage by the widows. The limit of loan for this scheme has been increased from three hundred thousand to five hundred thousand rupees.

He said a one billion dollar non-convertible bond would be issued to attract investment by overseas Pakistanis in the country’s infrastructure. The Capital Development Authority will also announce a separate sector to afford opportunity to overseas Pakistanis to make secured investment in real estate.

The Finance Minister said all pending refunds of sales tax would be paid in two phases. Those involving one million rupee would be cleared by 15th of July and others by 14th of August this year.

Ishaq Dar also announced relief measures relating to sales tax and federal excise duty for different sectors of economy. These include elimination of additional tax on lubricant oil by marketing companies, reduction in sales tax rates on import of hybrid electric vehicles at par with locally manufactured vehicles, automatic stay in cases related to federal excise duty till decision of appeal and elimination of withholding tax on supplies between registered individuals.

The Finance Minister said that sales tax rate has been reduced from seventeen to seven percent on several different types of machinery used in poultry sector. Sales tax rate on multimedia projectors for use in educational institutions would be reduced from the existing seventeen to ten percent.—DNA


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