Budget to be formed after maximum input from stakeholders : PM Advisor

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KARACHI, Feb 10 (APP) : Advisor to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Haroon Akhtar on Friday assured that next annual federal budget will be made after due consultation with business representatives and getting maximum possible feedback from the community to make it more practical and targeted oriented.
Haroon said, he strongly believed that budgets are not made in the drawing rooms but through open discussions and consultations with the stakeholders.
The Advisor was speaking at an interactive session with members of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) here at the Federation House. He was accompanied by Chairman , Federal Board of Revenue, Dr. Muhammad Irshad and FBR member policy, Rehmatullah Wazir.
On FPCCI side, prominent were its President Zubair F.Tufail, Vice Presidents Mirza Ishtiaq Baig and Saqib Nisar, Chairman, United Business Group at FPCCI and its former president Iftikhar Ali Malik, former senior vice president Shaikh Khalid Tawab, former vice president Zulfiqar Ali Shaikh, Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, FPCCI’s Acting Secretary General Mehar Alam, former Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan, Bashir Janmohammad.
PM’s Advisor assured the business community that all irritants relating to FBR would be settled in a detailed meeting with business leaders in Islamabad very soon.
He listed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government’s achievements on economic and social fronts over last three years ; mainly in energy and infrastructure development in the country.
He said, after achieving economic stability, the government had focussed on gross domestic product (GDP) growth with the target of more than 7 percent before the end of its tenure in 2018. Last year, it was 4.7 percent and for the current fiscal year it was targeted at 5.5 percent.
He said the things were moving in the right direction. Macro economic indicators were very positive, which had been acknowledged by different international ranking agencies.
By 2030, Pakistan would become 20th largest economy of the world and by 2050 it would be ranked as 16th, he said.
He regretted that the main opposition political parties were indulged in negative politics ; also in destructive criticism instead of supporting the government’s positive policies and steps keeping the interests of the country above their political agenda.
“ Criticism for criticism virtually damages our trade and other economic activities,” he remarked.
He advised the opposition parties to avoid doing politics with economy of the country as politics and economics were separate things.
He repeated the PML-N government’s offer that all major political parties should sit together, work out and sign charter of economy so that the economic plan and policies should continue with no effect of change of a ruling party.
“ Prime Minister and his team is still ready to sign charter of economy with opposition,” he offered.
Haroon Akhtar was defensive to FBR and expressed his satisfaction over its working and achievements to increase revenue. However, he said, the complaints against some FBR officials from taxpayers would be looked into.
He said the government was committed on, not to increase tax rate or impose new taxes but to bring more taxpayers into the tax net to have more revenue for the development of the country. We have also increased withholding tax on non-filers, he said.
He said presently the tax-GDP ratio was 12 percent, which should be at least 20 percent.
He said now the taxpayers could deposit their tax amount in other commercial banks as well. Earlier , it was only National Bank of Pakistan.
The visible re-structure had been done with FBR to improve its performance,he added.
He urged traders to properly keep their accounts record to escape any embarrassment from FBR.
He said new legislation was being done to plug the loops for tax evasion. These included Bainami Transactions Law and Money Transfer Law. This is the international demand in the light of changing global scenario.
In September 2018, Pakistan would sign another international convention binding to share banks information with 105 member countries. In case of failure to share the information, the country would be black listed, he informed.
Responding to the demand by FPCCI leadership for Amnesty Tax Scheme to facilitate inclusion of Pakistanis’ wealth in the national economy which had been hidden within and outside the country simply for the reason of tax evasion, the Prime Minister’s Advisor agreed in principal.
“ Money cannot brought back with stick,” he remarked.
Haroon Akhtar informed the business community that he had meeting
with Governor State Bank of Pakistan here today (Friday) who told that agriculture sector was booming ; with its increasing loans. SBP Chief also revealed that private credit was on the increase.
Chairman FBR Dr Muhammad Irshad also assured the business community of the supportive role of FBR. However, he made it clear, all taxable incomes would be taxed.
He sought trade bodies’ cooperation on this account.
He spoke of various steps taken for restructuring of FBR.
FPCCI President Zubair F.Tufail highlighted various issues of
industrialists and traders relating to FBR.