EAC for efforts to expand tax net

Simplification of taxation procedures stressed

Mian Arshad

Islamabad—The Economic Advisory Council (EAC), Tuesday, stressed need for augmenting government’s efforts to expand tax net, simplification of taxation procedures.
Endorsing economic revival agenda followed by the government the EAC expressed full support in helping in dissemination of the gains made so far.
In December 2013, a 19-member EAC was reconstituted by the Finance Ministry to provide independent advice to him on the formulation and implementation of economic policies and reform agenda. EAC met here with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the chair and highlighted that exports could be increased through proper implementation of the recently announced Strategic Trade Policy Framework. Members made suggestions related to the potential role of federal equalization grants for removing regional disparities.
At the outset of the meeting, the Finance Minister gave a brief overview of recent positive developments on the economic front.
He stated that most macroeconomic indicators had shown remarkable improvement during the last two & a half years.
He referred to the latest figures on GDP growth, revenue collection, fiscal deficit, PSDP, social protection, inflation, remittance, foreign exchange reserves, credit to private and agriculture sector have stated that all of these had markedly improved as compared to the pre-2013 period. He stated that having achieved economic stabilization the government was now fully focused on inclusive economic growth and was aiming at achieving a GDP growth rate of over 5 percent in FY 2015-16. He asked the members of the EAC to provide guidance to the government for further improving economic management.
Secretary Finance made a detailed presentation to the Committee on the economic progress. He also briefed the meeting on the debt situation and informed that the cost and risk profile and considerably improved during the last two and a half years.
Chairman FBR informed the meeting that FBR was on track to achieve the revenue target of Rs.3,104 billion set for 2015-16. He said that the Government would continue the policy of eliminating concessionary SROs in the next budget.
Leading the proceedings, the Convener Dr. Ishrat Husain spoke at length on the economic turnaround witnessed by the country over the last two and a half years as a result of the successful implementation of the economic revival agenda of the government. He praised the efforts of the Finance Minister and the entire economic team for this remarkable achievement in a difficult environment.
He emphasized the need for strengthening the tax administration and removing the contact between taxpayer and tax collector. He also highlighted the importance of federal and provincial fiscal coordination. He suggested that the government should look into setting up a long term infrastructure financing fund. Other EAC members, including, Abid Hasan, Razzaq Dawood, Zuberi, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Abid Qayyum Sulehri, Syed Akbar Zaidi, Farrukh Qayyum and Qazi Asmat Isa acknowledged the commendable progress made by the government in revitalizing the economy.
There was a consensus on capitalizing on the economic gains made so far by Pakistan to embark on a sustainably higher growth path.
The efforts made for the re-profiling of the domestic debt away from short term maturity were greatly appreciated by the members. The members acknowledged the vital role of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as an impetus of growth through employment creation and development, especially in the less developed regions of the country.

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