Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday launched an interest-free loan program worth Rs407 billion under the Kamyab Pakistan Programme, which he said would contribute to making the country’s low-income groups self-reliant.
Addressing the program’s launching ceremony at Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, the premier said 4.5 million families would benefit from interest-free loans under this initiative to set up small businesses, construct homes, start farming and acquire technical education.
He added that Rs2.5bn had been disbursed by the government among the low-income groups in various welfare schemes so far, and that banks had also given loans worth Rs55bn after the government encouraged them to facilitate the common man.
The prime minister stressed the need for transforming Pakistan into a welfare state, along the lines of the state of Madinah, saying that the country was envisioned as a socio-welfare state.
But deviation from this ideology increased difficulties for the common man, he regretted.
He said that he would be launching the Rehmatul-lil-Aalameen Authority tomorrow (Thursday), a body envisioned by him for researching how best to disseminate lessons from the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to the public.
‘FBR’s record collection allows relief measures’
PM Imran also spoke about his recent announcement of slashing petrol and electricity prices, saying that that government was able to take the step due to “record” tax collection by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Earlier this week, the prime minister had announced the slashing of petrol price by Rs10 per liter and electricity tariff by Rs5 per unit as part of a series of measures to bring some relief to the public.
The announcement was met with criticism and skepticism by many, particularly the opposition. The move was dubbed a “populist” measure and many had expressed the fear that it would lead to a fresh spree of borrowing to finance the package.
However, PM Imran explained in his speech today that it was in fact the revenue collected by the FBR that enabled the government to take such relief measures.
“I want to thank the FBR today for collecting […] record tax in Pakistan and because of this we have reduced the petrol price by Rs10 per litre and power tariff by Rs5 per unit when prices are on the rise internationally,” he said. The prime minister added that the government was able to take these steps because “we have more money”.
He said the nation should rest assured that their taxes would be used to “elevate individuals, reduce their burden and reduce inflation”.
“This is my promise to you. This [tax] money will not be spent on anything but you,” he said.
Earlier, the premier had lauded the FBR in a tweet for “successfully knocking down” February’s revenue target of Rs 441bn and “posting a robust growth” of 28.5 percent.
“Because of this performance of the FBR, we are able to subsidize petrol, diesel, and electricity and give relief to our people,” he said.
FBR has successfully knocked down Feb revenue target of Rs. 441 billion, posting robust growth of 28.5 percent, and up to the month growth of over 30 percent. Because of this performance of FBR we are able to subsidise petrol, diesel and electricity and give relief to our people.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 2, 2022