KARACHI/ISLAMABAD - Federal Finance Minister Dr Miftah Ismail has said that the country would have to go to IMF for financial assistance if the government fails to curtail trade deficit .

He was addressing a post-budget seminar organised by the Southern Regional Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) here at a local hotel. President ICAP Riaz A Rehman Chamdia and chairman Fiscal Laws Committee ICAP Ashfaq Tola also spoke on the occasion.

However, Dr Miftah Ismail said that there would be no need to resort to IMF programme due to the measures taken by the incumbent government. “I am leaving the goods in order by May and if the next government (caretaker) keeps the things as normal by June we will not be required to go to IMF”.

“What IMF wants us to do if we do that then there would be no need for the programme. We need to correct our financial affairs by increasing exports and reducing imports,” he emphasised.

He said that the budget presented by his government was appreciated by all, adding that anomalies, if any, would be fixed within two weeks. Government has reduced tax rates and now everybody will have to come into tax net, he added.

Only 1.2 million out of the total population of 200 million people pay tax. “Salaried class has been provided with tax relief in the budget which would reduce government’s revenue but it will have long term impacts as more people will opt to come in tax net”, Ismail told the gathering.

“FBR will collect Rs 3935 billion tax revenue by the end of current fiscal year. We have more than doubled the tax collection during last five years. For the next year we have set Rs 4.45 trillion revenue collection target”, he said.

"We are targeting the inflation rate to be 6 percent for the next year and GDP rate of 6.15 percent, and nominal GDP is expected to be around 12.25 percent. The government expects 11 percent revenue growth", he noted.

He stressed the need to increase growth rate to 8-10 percent to alleviate the poverty from the country and create job opportunities. For export package, a committee will be notified within couple of days, he announced.

In his address, President ICAP Riaz A Rehman Chamdia hailed the federal government budget and hoped that this will help businesses grow further. ICAP is striving for better financial management of institutions to play their role in economic growth. Earlier in his presentation, chairman Fiscal Laws Committee ICAP Ashfaq Tola said that there are few anomalies left in budget that need to be corrected. ICAP is doing its best efforts and we have held marathon session with FBR and submitted our proposals, he added.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Dr Miftah Ismail has said that the criticism by Pakistan Peoples Party leadership on the petroleum prices is unjustified.

He said that the prices of petroleum products, even after the recent raise, are still lower than those during the Peoples Party regime. He said that the level of taxation of these products in most cases is also lower than that prevalent in the Peoples Party days.

He said that the petrol price in March 2013 was Rs 106.60, diesel Rs 113.56, SKO Rs103.69 and LDO Rs 98.26. Despite the consistent increase in international oil prices during the last year, the prices in Pakistan are still considerably less than those levels set in the PPP days.

He said that PMLN government had brought about a huge change in the economic conditions of the country and if the opposition including PTI and PPP had cooperated instead of creating hurdles in the way of economic development of the country, things would have been even better for the common man.