ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said the government will announce a welfare-oriented, pro-investment and business-friendly budget for the next fiscal year.

The government would provide as much relief to the public as possible, he claimed talking to a private news channel on Sunday. He said the government was introducing long-term policies aimed at sustainable economic growth and achieving economic targets.

He said the government was focusing on providing relief to the people and businesses, adding that it had to take the country forward. “We will try our best to make a budget according to people’s wishes and without putting more burden on the business community,” he said.

The minister criticised those announcing dates for default and insisted that the coalition government had rescued the country from default despite serious challenges.

Claims govt will provide relief to both common man and traders

Criticising the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, he said the party leadership should be a well-wisher of the country instead of damaging the state institutions and reputation of the nation.

In response to a query, he said the government was aware that traders needed more incentives in the budget. “We are working on different long-term proposals to lift this sector and put the country on the right path,” he added.

PSX, Mufap delegation meets Dar

Meanwhile, a joint delegation of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) and the Mutual Funds Association of Pakistan (Mufap) met Mr Dar on Sunday and gave proposals to encourage people to invest in the stock market and promote mutual funds.

PSX representatives highlighted the erosion of market capitalisation over the last six years. They said the stock market was a highly documented segment and a significant contributor to the national exchequer.

Mr Dar said he was also worried about the stock market’s erosion and noted that the PSX was at one time one of the best-performing stock markets in the region. He assured the group that their concerns would be addressed and measures would be taken to encourage investment in Pakistan. He hoped the stock market would reverse the trend and once again become one of the top-performing markets in the region.

The finance minister was accompanied by Minister of State for Finance Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Finance Tariq Bajwa, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha, Reforms and Resource Mobilisation Commission Chairman Ashfaq Tola, Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Asim Ahmad and other senior officers from the finance ministry and revenue division. State Bank Governor Jameel Ahmad also attended the meeting.

During the meeting, Mufap representatives highlighted the growth of Sharia-compliant mutual funds and proposed that short-term sukuk should be launched.

The PSX delegation was represented by its chief executive officer, Farrukh Hus­sain, and Chief Fin­ancial Officer Ahmed Ali, whereas Mir Adil and Arif Qadri represented Mufap’s delegation.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2023

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