LAHORE              -        Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said the hallmark of next year budget is that no new tax has been imposed in it.

In a video message, he said we have rather reduced the burden on the masses by cutting taxes, duties and tariffs. The Foreign Minister said our effort is to improve the tax collection system by bringing reforms in the FBR.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the government is trying to generate economic activity in the country and for this purpose sectors such as agriculture and construction have been given priority to create job opportunities for the people. He said ample resources have been allocated in the budget for the agriculture and construction of water reservoirs. He said ten billion rupees have been earmarked to cope with the challenge posed by locusts.

The Foreign Minister said incentives have been given to the construction industry to enhance the growth.  He said our effort is to take the economy out of negative to the positive mode.  He said no cut has been made on the public sector development program keeping in view the growth factor.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said despite the nefarious designs of India, we have not increased the defense budget. He said this is a big decision and the armed forces have extended full cooperation to us keeping in view the current economic situation.  The Foreign Minister said the allocations for Ehsaas Program have also been enhanced from 178 billion rupees to 208 billion rupees to support the weak and disadvantaged segments of the society. Shah Mahmood Qureshi pointed out that the Paris Club has provided some relief in the form of suspension of payment of loans. He said relief from other financial institutions will enable us to divert resources to job creation and poverty alleviation.