Finance Minister Miftah Ismael on Friday said austerity was the foremost priority of the government and concrete measures were being taken in this regard. Presenting the Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23 in the National Assembly, he said steps were being taken to reduce the government’s expenditures. He said the government was not doing lip-service on the austerity as the petrol quota of government officials and cabinet members had been reduced by 40 percent, while official foreign trips, procurement of luxury items and vehicles for the government department were banned. APP Miftah Ismail said the present government has allocated Rs21 billion to enhance the production of agriculture and livestock during the fiscal year 2022-23. The minister described the agriculture as backbone of the economy and said that a three years growth strategy has been formulated in collaboration with planning commission and concerned departments of the provinces. “The basic objective of this strategy is to increase production, ensuring self reliance, prosperity of farmers, combating with environmental changes and promotion of smart agricultural system in the country,” he added. The minister said that the government had also proposed to withdraw sales tax on agriculture inputs and farm machinery including tractors, maize, canola and sunflower seeds, adding that the seed of rice was also exempted from the sales tax. Miftah Ismail said that the government had also introduced relief measures on agriculture farm machinery and logistics, adding that custom duty on agriculture machinery was withdrawn. The agriculture machinery including machinery for irrigation, sewerage, cultivation and harvesting would be exempted from the custom duty, he added. The minister said that the other machinery related to harvesting and crop processing, green house farming and plants conservation and other instruments were also exempted from the custom duty. Besides, the material used in agriculture industrial units and machinery manufacturing were also exempted from the custom duty, he added. In order to promote health care facilities in the country, the government had proposed to provide exemption on all facilities of hospitals having the capacity of 50 beds and facilities including electricity and other supplies.