Islamabad -  The Ministry of Commerce on Sunday presented budget and tax related proposals for the trade and commerce sector to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The presentation was made by the Commerce secretary during a preparatory meeting for the upcoming budget for FY2017-18. The preparatory meeting was presided over by the finance minister. The Commerce secretary presented budget and tax related proposals for the trade and commerce sector to the finance minister, based on consultations he had held with representatives of various industries and exporters.

Dar said the proposals would be accorded due consideration in the budget preparations. He said that the government is fully cognizant of the need to boost the country’s exports in order to achieve higher, sustainable and inclusive export-led GDP growth. He highlighted that the government announced the Prime Minister’s Package of Incentives for Exporters worth Rs180 billion earlier this year to this end.

The Commerce secretary informed the minister that the incentives provided under the prime minister’s package are having a positive impact, and the export figures have shown a noticeable improvement in recent months. The minister stated that Pakistan achieved 5.28 percent GDP growth during FY2016-17, which is a ten-year high, and the target for FY2017-18 is 6 percent GDP growth.

The minister also reviewed the tax and relief measures to be announced in the forthcoming budget. Dar said that improving the well-being of the general public and addressing their needs is the utmost priority of the government in the budget. He instructed officials of the Ministry of Finance and FBR to complete the budget work as early as possible.

The Finance secretary, EAD secretary, Commerce secretary, FBR chairman and senior officials of Ministry of Finance, FBR and SBP attended the meeting.

Dar urges dairy sector toensure quality of milk

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has urged the dairy sector to ensure that the quality of milk being provided to the people is in accordance with international and local health standards. The minister expressed these views while talking to a delegation of the Pakistan Dairy Association who called on him here on Sunday. The delegation briefed the minister on the current profile of the dairy sector in Pakistan. They also presented budget-related proposals and discussed tax-related matters during the meeting.

Dar appreciated the briefing and proposals of Pakistan Dairy Association and said that their suggestions would be given due consideration during the finalisation of the budget. He said that extensive consultations are being undertaken with all stakeholders as part of the budget preparations.

The minister urged the corporate firms in the dairy sector to ensure the well-being of dairy farmers and to work together with them on measures to increase the yield of milk across the country.

He said that the agriculture sector had received a major boost from the government’s agriculture package.

Dar highlighted that the agriculture sector had grown by 3.46 percent in FY2016-17, showing a marked improvement compared to FY2015-16. He further stated that milk is one of the 19 commodities which will be subsidised as part of the Ramazan Relief Package 2017 to provide relief to the general public during the holy month of Ramazan.

The delegation of Pakistan Dairy Association included representatives of Nestle, Engro Foods, Shakarganj Mills, Fauji Foods, Packages Limited and Everfresh Farms. PM’s Special Assistant on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan, Finance secretary, EAD secretary, FBR chairman and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and FBR also participated in the meeting.