posed to be reduced from 12.5% to 7.5%.

Reduced rate of withholding tax on bank transactions on non-filers

70. Tax @ 0.6% is charged on non-cash banking transactions from non-filers.

The rate is proposed to be reduced from 0.6% to 0.4% on a permanent basis.

Increase in minimum threshold of tax deduction on payment for goods and services.

71. Under the existing law, tax is required to be deducted on payment for services exceeding Rs.10,000 and on goods exceeding Rs.25,000. Considering inflation over the years it is proposed that the threshold for tax deduction be enhanced to Rs.30,000 on payment for services and to Rs.75,000 on payment for goods.

Extension of tax credits up to tax year 2021

72. Currently tax credits are allowed under sections 65B, 65C, 65D and 65E for establishing a new industrial undertaking, purchase of machinery through equity and extension, expansion and BMR of machinery. However, in order to give an impetus to investments the cut-off date for being eligible for these tax credits is proposed to be extended up to 30.06.2021.

Exemption to deep conversion refineries

73. In order to promote setting up of deep conversion refineries it is proposed that such refineries with a capacity of minimum 100,000 barrels per day to be installed anywhere in Pakistan may be exempted from income tax for a period of 10 years.

Further, such exemption may also be extended to existing refineries in cases where  capacity is expanded by installing deep conversion units with capacity of at least 100,000 barrels per day.

Rationalization of tax rate on import of coal

74. Currently tax on import of coal is payable at the rate of, 5.5% for companies and 6% for persons other than companies. In order to decrease cost of production it is proposed that the rate of tax maybe reduced to 4%.

Exemption to welfare institutions

75. In recognition of the meritorious services being performed by welfare institutions exemption is proposed to be granted to society for the welfare of suit, Aziz Tabba Foundation, Saylani welfare international trust and Al-Shifa eye hospital.

Revenue measures

Higher tax rates for non-filers

76. In order to increase the cost of doing business higher for non-filers higher rates of tax withholding for non compliant taxpayers are being proposed. The withholding tax rates on sale of goods for non filers are proposed to be increased from existing 7% to 8% in the case of a company, and from existing 7.75% to 9% in non-corporate cases.

Retaining the number of tax filers

77. Due to enhancement of the taxable limit of income to Rs.1.2 million, the number of filers will be substantially reduced. This will also result in loss of revenue.

A nominal income tax may be imposed @ of Rs.1000 for income between Rs.400,000 to Rs.800,000 and @ of Rs.2000 for income between Rs.800,000 to Rs.1,200,000.

ENERGY

34. Our government has invested heavily in Energy sector. The PML(N) government fulfilled its promise of availability of electricity and added generation capacity of 12,230 megawatts to the national grid. Let me highlight the key completed projects based on a diverse mix of low cost power generation sources, including coal, RLNG, wind, solar and hydel:

a. 969 MW Neelum Jehlum Hydropower Project, a run-of-river hydropower project, which is an engineering marvel with 90% of the plant being underground in the high mountainous area b. Enhancement of Tarbela power station with addition of fourth unit contributing an additional 1,410 MW of power c. 3,600 MW of RLNG based power plants in Haveli Bahadur Shah, Bhikki and Balloki d.

Pakistan’s first super-critical coal fired power plants located in Sahiwal and Port Qasim Coal (north and south) have started operations e. 680 MW Chashma Nuclear Power Plants C-3 and C-4 have come online; and  f. Over 1,000 MWs renewable energy projects with zero fuel costs.

35. However, these projects are not the end of our investments in the electricity sector. For the budget year 2018-19 the proposal is to invest Rs.138 billion in power sector. Key investments in the sector are proposed as follows: a. Rs.27.5 billion have been allocated for installation of two 600 MW coal fired power projects in Jamshoro, Sindh, b Rs.76 billion have been allocated for Dasu Hydro Power Project for Stage-one in District Kohistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, c. Rs.32.5 billion have been allocated for Neelum Jhelum Hydro Power Project, and d. Rs.13.9 billion have been allocated for Tarbela Fourth Extension Hydro Power Project.

WATER

36. I would like to congratulate people of Pakistan on the recent approval of the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam at an estimated cost of Rs.474 billion. The dam will have 6.4 million acres feet live storage capacity and an installed power capacity of 4,500 MWs. The project will increase national water storage capacity from 38 days to 45. In the budget 2018-19, the proposal is to allocate Rs.23.7 billion for the dam. Overall, investment in the water sector is being increased from Rs.36.7 billion in 2017-18 to Rs.79 billion in 2018-19.  National Highways  37. Efficient road network is the key to economic prosperity. While recognizing this fact the PML (N) government has increased investments for highways from around Rs. 50 billion in 2012-13 to Rs. 320 billion in FY 2017-18. An amount of Rs.842 billion were allocated through the PSDP during last 5 years while off-budget financing of Rs. 500 billion was also arranged by employing innovative PPP modes. Through this investment 3,655 Km new roads have been added while 1,000 Km new roads were added by our predecessor in five years at the cost of Rs.123 billion. 38. Travelling experience between Peshawar and Lahore had been revolutionized.

Some of the key projects that have been completed include: a. 58 KMs of Faisalabad-Gojra motorway b. 136 KMs of Hyderabad-Karachi motorway c. 56 KMs of Khanewal-Multan motorway. 39. This year, we plan to complete the following key projects; 

a. Khuzdar Shahdadkot motorway

b. 230KMs of Lahore-Multan motorway

c. 62 KMs of Gojra-Shorkot motorway

d. 64 KMs of Shorkot-Khanewal motorway

e. 91 KMs of Sialkot-Lahore motorway

f. 57 KMs of Hazara Motorway.

40. The North South connection on the western side is being improved by

constructing high class motorways and highways from Burhan in Islamabad, Peshawar Motorway to DG Khan and thereon to Quetta via Zhob. This link will be completed by 2020.

41. In budget 2018-19, an allocation of Rs.310 billion is proposed.

RAILWAYS

42. Over the past five years, revenue generation capability of Pakistan Railways has increased considerably. For budget year 2018-19, in addition to recurrent budget grant of Rs.35 billion, development budget investment is proposed at Rs.39 billion.

DEVELOPMENT OF GWADAR

43. The dream to make Gwadar port fully operational for international trade is now gradually turning into a reality. For the budget year 2018-19 our main aim is to allocate required resources for the completion of on-going projects such as; Gwadar airport and its access road network, improving port facilities, development of a desalination plant for provision of clean-drinking water, upgrade of existing 50-bed  hospital to 300 beds, development of infrastructure for Gwadar export processing zone, construction of a CPEC Institute, and construction of dams. Thirty-one projects for development of Gwadar are part of the proposed PSDP 2018-19 with an estimated cost of Rs.137 billion.

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

44. While the social sector functions have been devolved to the provinces, the Federal Government continues to provide funding for higher education, primary health services, and programmes for youth. For this purpose, we are enhancing PSDP allocations for Higher Education Commission to Rs.57 billion, for primary health programmes to Rs.37 billion and for programmes for youth by Rs.10 billion.

The Federal Government is also providing income support to more than 5 million families, and has also allocated funds for Pakistan Bait Al Maal, and Poverty Alleviation Fund. In addition, the Federal Government is proposing to build 100 sport stadiums all over the country on cost-sharing basis with the provincial governments.

HEALTH

45. Our government introduced large-scale reforms in the health sector. It is government’s top priority to provide quality health services to the people.

46. Even after devolution of health function to provinces, the Federal Government cannot abdicate itself from responsibilities in this sector. For the first time, poor people are being provided with quality health services through the Prime Minister’s Health Programme. Under this programme 30 lakh families in 41 districts have been provide free of cost services in public and private hospitals.

47. The scope of this programme is being expanded to all districts in the country. This programme would help in achieving targets of Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.

48. In view of increasing cases of Hepatitis, a National Hepatitis Strategic Framework has been developed together with the provinces. Prices of Hepatitis drugs have been brought to the lowest level and its production in the country is encouraged.

49. Uninterrupted supply of vaccines has been ensured through the vaccination programme for mothers and children, and its storage and distribution systems are ISO certified.

50. Production of vaccines in National Institute of Health is made as per international standards. The production which was earlier un-operational, has been made operational.

51. Keeping in view the necessity of authentic data in policymaking, an international standard dashboard has been established at the federal level.

52. For the collection of correct statistics, the government has decided to undertake international standard survey after every 2 - 3 years.   Childhood disease detection and prevention

53. technology today provides simple and cheap solutions to many important problems. If trained and provided with the appropriate mobile phone app, teachers can look into students’ eyes and detect many diseases. This will help detect  diseases at the very inception and allow easy and cheap prevention and cure. This programme will be started with the poorer districts of Pakistan and will be spread to all public schools in a few years. At an appropriate time we will also require the private schools to provide such service. For now I just request the more expensive schools to provide such service. The federal ministry of National Health Services will soon start providing guidelines on this subject.

SPECIAL AREAS

54. For the AJK and Gilgit Baltistan, an amount of Rs.44.7 billion is proposed to be allocated. For the people of AJK, we announce today a special project of Lipa Tunnel construction which will facilitate the local population. For FATA, Rs.24.5 billion have been proposed.

To bring FATA in the mainstream, a ten-year FATA development plan with total outlay of Rs.100 billion has been approved. During 2018-19 Rs.10 billion are proposed to be provided. 

22. In order to revive Pakistan’s film industry, which used to be the third largest in world in the 1960s, the Government is announcing a fiscal package. The package will provide an enabling environment for film industry to flourish, and to project Pakistani culture. The main features of this fiscal incentive packages are: a. Reduction in custom duty to 3 percent on the import of film & drama production equipment and sales tax to 5 percent. b. Establishment of a revolving Fund for promotion of film and drama industry and to provide financial support to deserving artists. c. Rebate of 50% in Income tax to companies investing in film projects will be given for 5years. d. 50% tax rebate to income derived by foreign film makers from films made in Pakistan. 23. Further details of film-policy will be presented by my sister Marriyum Aurangzeb in the next few days. Development of Karachi 24. Karachi is the commercial and trading hub of Pakistan and has a major contribution in the country’s revenue base. PML(N) Government after coming to office in 2013 successfully restored law and order in Karachi giving confidence to the business community and rejuvenating economic activity there. The Lahore, Multan metros were built by provincial funds, however the Green Line Rapid Transit System in Karachi is being funded by the Federal Government. In the current financial year, Rs.16 billion have been spent on this project. The road and bridges are ready, but the provincial government has not yet been able to issue contract for procurement of buses. On behalf of the Federal government, I am today offering that if Sindh government is unable to get busses for Karachi, the Federal Government will do so. 25. It was agreed during the time of the previous government that Federal government will pay 1/3rd of the cost of K4 water project in Karachi. However, no money was ever paid, and the project never took off the ground. It was the PML(N) government that started giving funds for the K4 and Mian Nawaz Sharif also agreed to pick 45% of the total cost. However, it is taking the provincial government a long time to complete the project due to which cost over-run have crossed 400%. Mr Speaker, 26. Karachi is suffering from a severe water crisis. To solve this long-standing problem, the Federal government is today announcing a new scheme of sea water desalination plant. This plant will be built by the private sector and will produce 50 million gallons of water a day. In-Sha-Allah it will be my honour to play a role in solving the water problem for my city. For this purpose, the Federal government will bridge the viability gap in partnership with private sector. 27. Apart from the above, the Prime Minister has announced a Package of Rs.25 billion for Karachi. This Package includes providing infrastructural and other social sectors facilities. So far, three projects covering roads and flyovers and up-gradation of firefighting system has been approved and Rs.3.0 billion has been earmarked during current financial year. An allocation of Rs.5 billion has been proposed in the PSDP-2018-19. In addition, on my personal request the Minister for Planning Mr. Ahsan Iqbal has provided funds for expansion of Karachi Expo Centre. Childhood Development   28. Education: We are introducing a new programme to be called 100 100 100. This is a federal government’s commitment to ensure that 100% Pakistani children will be enrolled in schools, 100% children will be retained in schools and finally, InshaAllah 100% will graduate from schools. This is a solemn commitment of not just of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi but the entire parliament to the children of Pakistan. Even after 70 years, we the leaders of Pakistan have failed the children of Pakistan. We have denied them the light of education. No more. Even though education is a devolved subject, but federal government will help, both financially and administratively, each and every province to achieve this goal. This is not about politics and parties. This is a national commitment that I make today to the children of Pakistan. We will educate you. And we will insist on 100 100 100. 29. Nutrition:   as a father of three children I am ashamed to tell you that 30% of my Pakistani children are stunted due to malnutrition and inadequate food.

Mr Speaker, this is a matter of shame for us. This is no more tolerable. 30. I am today allocating on the instructions of the Prime Minister at least Rs.10 billion for a programme that will end child stunting. But if this programme gets off the ground quickly and needs more money, I again promise on behalf of the entire parliament that we will provide through supplementary grants any amount that is needed to end child stunting.

PSDP

31. During the past five years, our government emphasised on increase in development spending several times. The PML(N) government spent over Rs.3,000 billion, as compared to around Rs.1,300 billion spent during 2008-13. This is about 230 percent more. I am proud to say that, under the leadership of my brother Ahsan Iqbal, public money was spent with full fiduciary responsibility, transparency and financial integrity for the benefit of our people.

32. While PSDP investments were made in different sectors of the economy, I would like to highlight the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) upfront. Vision of Mian Nawaz Sharif, CPEC initiative has become a global brand of Pakistan. CPEC investments are mainly in energy, road and transport infrastructure and Gwadar.

As part of CPEC, our Government initiated road projects that would link north of Pakistan with Gwadar. Trans-Pakistan corridor of motorways and special economic zones are designed to provide jobs, enhance manufacturing base, and increase prosperity and growth. Karachi Lahore Motorway, Thakot Havelian Motorway, Eastbay Expressway Gwadar, and many other link roads in Gilgit Baltistan, KPK, Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh are interlinking Pakistan like never before. 33. As part of CPEC, the Government has also finalized the plan to increase the speed of trains on Main Line-I from Peshawar to Karachi by 3 times.

Current average speed of trains on ML-I is 55 Km per hour which will be increased to 160 Km per hour by 2021. The project envisages doubling of track from Karachi to Peshawar and from Taxila to Havalian. This requires an investment of more than $8 billion. This will enable people to travel from North to South in 12 hours or even less. 

Sales tax relief measures

78. Now I shall present relief measures that are proposed to be introduced in the Sales Tax and Federal Excise law during the current Budget

Exemption from sales tax and customs duty on paper for printing of Holy Quran

79. In order to provide concession to printers/publishers of Holy Quran, it is proposed that exemption from sales tax and Customs duty. This exemption will be available to federal and provincial governments as well as registered publishers of Holy Quran.

Exemption from value addition tax on import of LNG

80. Value addition tax @ 3% is chargeable under Sales Tax Special Procedure Rules, 2007 to provide relief to this sector it is proposed that value addition tax @ 3% on import of RLNG may be removed. To address cash flow issues of Gas Distribution Companies, it is proposed that rate of sales tax may be reduced from 17% to 12% on import of LNG and supply of RLNG.

Exemption from sales tax for dairy, livestock and agriculture

81. Urea is chargeable to sales tax @ 5%, DAP @ Rs.100 per 50 kg bag and other fertilizers like NP, NPK, SSP, CAN are also charged reduced fixed rates of sales tax. To promote agricultural growth reduction in rate of sales tax to 3% across the board on all fertilizers is proposed. It is further proposed that the rate of sales tax on supply of natural gas to fertilizers plant for use as feed stock, presently chargeable @ 10%, may be reduced to 5% to cater for cash flow issues of fertilizers manufacturers in view of reduction in rate of sales tax on fertilizers. Likewise, rate of sales tax on LNG imported by fertilizer manufacturers for use as feed stock is also proposed to be reduced from 5% to 0%.

82. To promote fish farming, 10% duty on sales tax on fish feed is being removed. Similarly, sales tax is being exempted for preparation of fans and animal feed of dairy farms. In addition, sales tax on agriculture machinery is proposed to be reduced from 7% to 5%. These proposed measures are expected go a long way in promoting our agriculture, dairy, and livestock sectors.

Sales tax on computer parts

83. Currently, Personal Computers and laptops are exempt from sales tax.

However, exemption is not available in respect of computer parts. In order to promote local assembling and manufacturing of laptops and computers, it is proposed that exemption on 21 types of computer parts imported by manufacturers may be granted.

Zero-rating on stationery items

84. Stationery items were zero-rated under Fifth Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990 which was subsequently withdrawn through Finance Act, 2016. It is proposed that zero-rating for stationery may be restored, to promote local stationery sector and reduce the prices of local stationery items.

Sales tax monitoring through electronic fiscal devices

85. Supply of finished fabric to and by retailers, to end consumers, and other supplies of finished fabric including carpets, leather etc. are subject to sales tax @ 6%. Similar rate of 6% is applicable on import of ready to use articles of textile and leather. In order to facilitate and promote automation in addition to revenue generation, it is proposed that the rate of sales tax @ 6% maybe retained on the sales for those persons who are integrated with FBR online systems. For others, rate of sales tax is proposed to be applied @ 9% for both supply of above referred goods and import of finished goods of textile and leather.

Exclusion from value addition tax on second hand clothing and footwear

86. Presently value addition tax @ 3% under the Sales Tax Special Procedure Rules, 2007 is applicable on the import of second hand worn clothing and footwear. It is proposed to provide exclusion from value addition tax to the subject items. This would support lower income groups.

Revenue measures increase in rate of further tax

87. To enhance documentation and base of sales tax, further tax is proposed to be increased from existing 2% to 3%. This will not only discourage undocumented economy, but it will also result in revenue increase.

Federal excise duty on cigarettes

88. Federal excise duty on locally produced cigarettes is proposed to be enhanced in respect of Tier-1, TIER-2 and TIER-3 to Rs 3964, Rs 1770 and Rs 848 per thousand cigarettes respectively.

Customs relief measures

89. Now the proposals related with Customs are being presented before the house:

Relief for agriculture, dairy and poultry sector

90. The livestock sector continues to be the largest sub-sector of Agriculture in Pakistan. It provides livelihood and employment to millions in the rural areas of the country and the commitment of our government to sustain it remains a key aspect element to alleviate poverty. To sustain the growth in this vital sector of the economy and provide further relief, it is proposed that;-

a. Customs Duty of 3% on import of bulls meant for breeding purposes be withdrawn.

b. Presently available concessionary rate of Customs Duty on the import of Feeds meant for livestock sector may be further reduced from 10% to 5% and fans meant for use in dairy farms be allowed at concessionary rate of 3% to members of the Corporate Dairy Association. This will substantially reduce their cost of inputs and boost further expansion. In respect of the poultry sector, the concessionary rate of customs duty on import of growth promoters premix, vitamin premix, Vitamin B12 (Feed grade) and Vitamin H2 (Feed grade) is proposed to be further reduced from 10% to 5% for registered manufacturers of poultry feed.

Relief for health sector

91. Health Sector has always been a priority area for the Government. Significant incentives are already in place to encourage the provision of quality and cost effective treatment to the patients. Like previous years, this year as well following measures are being proposed for this Sector;-

a. To tackle the problem of physical and mental stunting in children a food fortification program in collaboration with international partners is underway. Under this program, flour mills will mix critical micronutrients e.g. folic acid, vitamin B12, Zinc etc in the flour being produced for sale to general public. However to ensure that the appropriate quantities of such micronutrients are being added to the flour, it is being proposed that 3% Customs Duty on import of the micro feeder equipment be withdrawn.

b. To provide relief for cancer treatment in Pakistan, the Government has exempted drugs from customs duties at import stage. However the sole exception was Tasigna on which customs duty @ 5% is proposed to be withdrawn.

c. It is also proposed that the rate of customs duty @11%, on corrective eyesight glasses be reduced to 3%.

d. Import of machinery & equipment, is allowed duty free to charitable institutions and hospitals, under the provision of Pakistan Customs Tariff code 9917. However there is no mechanism for their disposal. To redress this issue, it is being proposed that if such goods are disposed of within a period of 7 years of their import, the payment of duty and taxes leviable thereon shall be on payment of duty and taxes assessed at time of disposal whereas if disposal is after seven years no taxes would be payable.

Encouraging value-added exports

92.

a. To provide incentives to exports an inter-ministerial review has identified certain raw materials, used in export related sectors. It is therefore proposed that the existing rate of Customs duty on raw materials falling under 104 PCT codes are being exempted whereas in respect of 28 PCT code the Customs Duty rates are being reduced.

b. 11% Customs Duty on Synthetic filament tow of acrylic or modacrylic (PCT 5501.3000) is being withdrawn by inclusion in the Prime Minister Export Package.

c. Leather products are one of the leading export oriented sector of the country and have significant export potential in the international market.

93. Recognizing this, it is being proposed to withdraw customs duty on import of tanned hides (including wet blue) by registered leather tanning sector.

Import substitution and employment generation

94. Currently finished products and most of the raw materials are importable at 20% duty. It is proposed that for liquid Packaging Industry, the customs duty on inputs be reduced.

95. Regulatory duty on import of optical fiber cable is to be reduced from 20% to 10%. In addition, duty on fibre optic cable and other raw material be reduced to 5%.

Relief to manufacturing sector

96. To sustain domestic manufacturing sector it is essential that inputs not available locally are provided and made available at the optimal rates keeping in view the availability of domestically compatible substitutes. In this regard, the following proposal are being made:

a. Acetic Acid is not locally manufactured and is a widely used raw material in various industries including food sector. It is proposed that CD on Acetic Acid (PCT 2915.2100) may be reduced from 20% to 16%.

b. For promotion of local industry, it is proposed that customs duty on import of plasters (PCT 2520.2000) may be reduced from 16% to 11% as it is used for producing Plaster of Paris Bandage.

c. Carbon Black rubber grade is importable at 20% customs duty which is a raw material for manufacturing of tyres. It is proposed that customs duty may be reduced from 20% to 16% on import of Carbon Black rubber grade.

d. Presently, silicon electrical steel sheets are importable for manufacture of transformers at concessionary rate of 10% customs duty.

Transformers are a critical component of the power transmission and distribution infrastructure. To assist in up-gradation of the power infrastructure by reducing domestic manufacturing costs, it is proposed that concessionary rate of 10%customs duty on silicon electrical steel sheets for transformers may further be reduced to 5%.

Promotion of tourism

97. During the last few years, the quantum of domestic tourism has significantly increased in areas, which previously were not frequented owing to the security environment, especially in Northern Areas. While the country is blessed with excellent tourist spots, the hotel facilities at such locations are dismal or practically non-existent. While construction of hotels is time-consuming with greater capital cost, a quick and cost effective solution is available in the form of prefabricated hotel rooms. It is, therefore, proposed that customs duty on import of such Pre-fabricated structures complete rooms, not locally manufactured, be reduced from 20% to 11% for setting up of new hotels / motels in hill stations (including AJK and Gilgit Baltistan), coastal areas of Baluchistan.

Renewable energy initiatives

98. The government remains committed to introducing alternative energy in all

 walks of life with a view to reduced dependence on consumption of fossil fuel. In this regard, the government intends to continue its drive and the following proposals are being made;-

a. To promote usage of electric vehicles, which are environment friendly, an enabling fiscal environment for its related infrastructure is necessitated. It is, therefore, proposed that 16% customs duty on charging stations for electric vehicles may be withdrawn.

b. Custom duty on import of electric cars is proposed to be reduced from 50% to 25% in addition to exemption from regulatory duty of 15%.

Import of CKD kits for assembly of domestically produced electric cars is proposed at 10%.

c. LED is an efficient alternative to save energy. However to further incentivize domestic manufacturing in Pakistan 5% customs duty on specified LED parts and components, is proposed to be withdrawn.

Revenue Measures

99. In order to meet the revenue targets for FY 2018-19, revenue measures will be required to be taken so as to maintain the overall fiscal deficit within the predicted limit. Rather than effecting any large scale changes in the existing tariff slabs to meet this objective, a more restrictive and narrower revenue intervention is predicated.

Accordingly, it is proposed that the rate of existing Additional Customs duty may be increased from 1% to 2%. Exception is being provided for Plant and machinery,  Imports by Privileged Personnel /Organizations, Relief goods, Export Promotion regimes etc

RELIEF MEASURES

100. Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is the largest safety net programme in Pakistan. When the present government took over the charge in June 2013, the allocation for BISP was Rs.40 billion to provide cash support to 3.7 million families. The stipend under the program in 2013 was a mere Rs.3,000 per quarter.

During its tenure, our government not only increased the allocation of funds to Rs.121 billion during FY 2017-18 but also increased the amount of stipend per family from Rs.3,000 to Rs.4,834 per quarter. Numbers of beneficiaries have also been increased to 5.6 million as of December, 2017. The allocation of BISP is being further increased to Rs.124.7 billion in FY 2018-19.

101. National Poverty Graduation Programme: To assist the ultra-poor and very poor in graduating out of poverty on a sustainable basis by enabling especially women and youth to realize their development potential and attain a higher level of social and economic well-being, the government has launched a National Poverty Graduation Programme for BISP beneficiaries with an amount of more than Rs 9.5 billion (US$ 82.6 million). Under this programme, BISP beneficiaries who are willing to start their own businesses will be provided with a one-time cash grant of Rs.50,000 to start their own business and become productive members of society.

102. Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund: During the last five years, the present government arranged more than Rs.20 billion for PPAF. An amount of Rs 688 million is being allocated for PPFA for FY 2018-19. Besides, PPAF is implementing the  Prime Minister’s Interest Free Loan scheme successfully in 45 districts of Pakistan, for which the Government has already provided Rs 3.965 billion and further Rs 3.5 billion are being provided for Prime Minister’s Interest Free Loan, PPAF during the next financial year.

103. Relief to Widow Borrowers: The scheme was launched in 1991 by PML(N) government whereby the Government committed to pay the loans of widow borrowers from House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC) up to the value of Rs.3.5 lakh. This scheme will continue in FY 2018-19 with increased limit of Rs.6 lakh. Appropriate budgetary provision is being made for this purpose.

104. Our government has consistently provided increase in pay and pensions of government employees over the last five years. Despite fiscal constraints a further relief is being provided to government servants and pensioners although the inflation

this year currently stands at 3.8 percent:

a. A 10 percent ad-hoc relief allowance to civil and armed forces employees with effect from 1 July 2018.

b. A 10 percent increase is also being proposed for pensioners across the board.

c. Housing is a serious problem for government employees in major cities. House rent ceiling is being increased by 50 percent.

d. Similarly, house rent allowance is also being increased by 50 percent.

e. Considering the difficulties of low-paid pensioners, minimum pension is being increased to Rs.10,00