Pak govt announces new measures to promote investment, economic growth

By Sajjad Hussain Islamabad, Jan 23 (PTI) Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar on Wednesday announced a new set of measures to promote investment and economic growth while presenting the third finance bill for the current fiscal year in the National Assembly amidst ruckus by opposition parties.Umar presented Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 also dubbed as mini budget in the National Assembly after a special meeting of the Cabinet approved it.He said that measures taken by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government would boost manufacturing and exports, encourage low-cost housing and facilitate agricultural financing to promote economic activities.The minister also said that government was focusing on enhancing ease of doing business, simplifying procedures for setting up businesses and undertaking investment.One of the key measures announced by the government was to reduce taxes from 39 per cent to 20 per cent on small and medium enterprises, agricultural, and housing loans.Umar also announced to set up Rs 500 crore revolving fund to provide interest free loans for the construction of small houses.He also partially lifted the ban on purchase of newly manufactured cars by non-tax payers by allowing them to buy certain categories of vehicles.He abolished import duty on newsprint to promote print media.The minister also said that the tax on small marriage halls will be reduced from 20,000 to 5,000 rupees.He said polices of government were already paying dividend and agri loan increased by 22 per cent in the first six month of the current fiscal year and also market capitalization increased.Umar said policies of the government will result in high growth in a few years.Opposition parties, however, continued protest throughout the speech of the finance minister against the measures, saying that government had failed to give relief to the people.Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Muhammad Zubair said that cars and mobile phone will be costly after the new measures.However, economic expert Abid Hassan said the tax relief announced by the minister will help economy by speeding up growth. PTI SH ZHZH