ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar today presented in the National Assembly Rs4.42 trillion budget for 2016-17 and promised to keep the inflation rate in single digits.

The Finance Minister said fiscal deficit would be brought down from the existing 4.3 to 3.8% next year and investment to GDP ratio will be enhanced to 21 percent.

He said tax to GDP ratio will be enhanced to 14 percent.

He said there would be continued focus on energy sector and more than 10,000 MW of additional electricity would be added to the national grid by March 2018. After 2018, work would continue on several projects including Dassu, Diamer Bhasha dam and projects under CPEC to generate 21500 MW of electricity.

The Finance Minister announced an increase in allocations for Benazir Income Support Programme from the existing 102 billion rupees to 115 billion rupees for the next financial year.

He said 5.3 million families would be benefitting from the programme by the close of the current financial year and the number of these families would increase to 5.6 million during next year.

He said allocations for Pakistan Baitul Mal have been doubled to four billion rupees.

Enumerating the salient features of media term micro framework 2016-19, the Finance Minister said that GDP growth rate will be enhanced to seven percent in the next three years.

Ishaq Dar said that foreign exchange reserves will be pushed up thirty billion dollars. He said given the economic performance last three years, this micro-economic framework is very much implementable.

He said that the government has also chalked out a comprehensive plan to encourage private investment in different sectors including transport and infrastructure.  He said similarly, foreign direct investment will be facilitated which will help enhance the economic activity in the country. He said our plan also envisages establishment special economic zones which will create job opportunities for youths.

Ishaq Dar said promotion of health and education as well as poverty alleviation and women empowerment are the main targets of the Public Sector Development Programme. He said the government is also giving priority to the construction of Small dams especially in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The Finance Minister also announced a series of measures for the provision of telecommunication and internet facilities in the far flung areas of the country.