Finance Minister Ishaq Dar last week said the Federal Budget 2015-2016 was poor-friendly and the government would not allow anyone to increase the prices by using the name of budget. Addressing a post-budget press conference, the minister said he didn’t agree to the perception that the budget 2015-2016 had increased the burden on the poor.
“The government has raised the tax rate on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and enhanced the rate on dividend income, so the burden has increased for the rich segments,” said the minister. Ruling out the possibility of including circular debt on books, he said the government would not pick up the begging bowl to meet the financing requirement of Rs120 billion for the Temporarily Displaced Persons and would collect Rs20-22 billion with the imposition of super tax on 200 people and companies. “The circular debt has nothing to do with the budget, as it is the issue of receivables and payables of the Ministry of Water and Power. We only provide subsidy amount in line with the calculation made by the regulator Nepra to protect consumers using up to 200 units. “The amount of circular debt stands at around Rs270 billion not Rs400 billion,” said Dar. The salary bill, he said, will increase by Rs47 billion after merging two allowances, jacking up the medical allowance by 25 per cent and granting 7.5 per cent allowance as the total impact on take home salary of public sector employees will go up in the range of 11 to 14 per cent.
The minister said the merger of two allowances would benefit those pensioners who would be retiring in near future.