Prime Minister Imran Khan has reaffirmed the government's commitment to take the economy towards export led growth.
Speaking in the National Assembly this evening, he said initiatives in this regard are being taken in different sectors including agriculture, livestock and small and medium enterprises.
The Prime Minister said that 60 billion rupees have been allocated in the federal budget for the uplift of agriculture sector. Tax Exemptions worth 100 billion rupees are also being given to enhance the productivity of this sector and ensure food security. He said the Punjab government has launched Kissan Card Scheme under which the farmers will be registered to extend them facilitation. He said the small farmers will be given direct subsidy on inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. He said Kissan Markets will also be established so that the farmers get due price of their produce.
He said a livestock project envisages enhancing the milk production. He said the result of this project will be visible in the next two years.
The Prime Minister said the SME sector is being incentivized to generate economic activity and provide job opportunities to the youth.
Imran Khan appreciated his economic team for presenting a budget in accordance with his vision of establishing a welfare state. He said it is the first budget which contains the unprecedented allocations for social protection.
The Prime Minister said five hundred billion rupees have been earmarked to uplift four to five million weakest segments of the society. He said under this program, interest free loans will be given to these households. Besides they will be given health card and technical training. He said these poor households will also be made part of the low cost housing program.
Imran Khan said the health cards scheme will bring revolution in the health sector of the country. He said the private sector will be fully facilitated including through provision of land to them on low cost to build health facilities. He said we will allow duty free import of medical equipment.
As regards Ehsaas program, the prime minister said twelve million deserving households will be given direct subsidy on purchase of essential commodities from the utility and general stores.
The Prime Minister appealed the people to honestly pay their taxes to take forward the country on the economic front. He said that a tax collection target of 5800 billion rupees has been set for the next fiscal year. This he said, is stiff target but will be achieved through reforms in FBR including its automation. He said that wilful tax defaulters will be put into the jail.
Commending the record remittances sent by the Overseas Pakistanis, the Prime Minister asked them to make investments in different sectors of the economy. He said obstacles in the way of their investments will be removed.
The Prime Minister said, he has waged a struggle for rule of law in the country. He said bringing the powerful people under the ambit of law is important to exploit the country's true potential.
Prime Minister Imran Khan invited the Opposition parties to sit with the government for talks on electoral reforms. This, he said, is important for the future of democracy in the country. He said it has been his effort over the last two years to bring reforms so that the election results are acceptable to all. He said the Opposition has so far not responded to the reforms proposed by the government. He stressed that the use of electoral voting machine is important to check the irregularities that take place at the close of voting process. He, however, said that if the Opposition has some other suggestions on electoral reforms, we are ready to listen to them.
Alluding to the heavy human and material losses suffered by Pakistan in the war on terrorism, the Prime minister regretted that these were not recognized in true sense at the international level. He also condemned drone attacks carried out by the US in tribal areas in the past.
The Prime Minister said the US has finally realized that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict. He said the US has now given an exit date from Afghanistan and it is asking Pakistan to woo the Taliban for talks. He said Pakistan has no leverage on the Taliban except that it can only ask them to hold negotiations to avoid civil war in their country. He said peace in Afghanistan is important for Pakistan to build economic linkages with the Central Asian states. He said we neither want any strategic depth nor do we have any favourites or parties in Afghanistan.
Imran Khan made it emphatically clear that Pakistan cannot be a partner in conflict but only will be a partner in peace with the United States. He also categorically stated that Pakistan will not make any compromise over its sovereignty for the sake of any other country.
Paying tribute to the immense sacrifices of oppressed Kashmiri people in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister said the entire Pakistan stands by their Kashmiri brothers and sisters. He once again made it clear that diplomatic relations will not be restored with India until it rescinds the illegal steps of 5th August 2019.
The House has now been prorogued.