Economy to suffer loss of Rs3000 billion due to COVID-19: Hafeez Sheikh

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ISLAMABAD – Finance Advisor Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has said that country’s economy will suffer an estimated loss of Rs3000 billion to coronavirus pandemic.

Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, while addressing a post budget press conference said that efforts are being made to provide maximum relief to the people and government did not put burden on the masses in the budget.

Finance Advisor told the media that government has abolished 10 types of different withholding taxes and duty on tariff lines of 1600 imported goods has been reduced to zero. He added that government paid Rs5000 billion on debt payment with Rs2700 billions in interest payment of past loans.

Abdul Hafeez Sheikh further said that government deliberately reduced imports as at one moment foreign exchanges were depleted; however, government managed to reduced current account deficit from Rs20 billion to just Rs3 billion.

Hafeez Sheikh also claimed that before coronavirus, tax revenue increased by 17% and foreign investments rose by 137 percent.

He also clarified that government is not hiding behind coronavirus pandemic and said that the virus has disturbed entire world and not only Pakistan. The virus has negatively affected FBR’s tax collection as most of commercial activity was halted and it is estimated that pandemic will cause a loss of Rs3000 billion to the country’s economy, he added.

The advisor also said that three months electricity bills of small businesses were paid and prices of diesel and petrol were significantly reduced. For the benefit of farmers, government procured wheat of Rs280 billion.