Sharafat Kazmi Islamabad
Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday has stressed for introduction of track and trace system to curb massive tax evasion in major sectors such as sugar, cement, fertilizers and tobacco industry.
Addressing the federal cabinet here, he pointed out that the Federal Board of Revenue has been striving hard for this system over the last fifteen years but every time their efforts are sabotaged.
The Prime Minister said only two companies are paying taxes in the cigarette industry whilst forty percent cigarettes are being sold in black.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said the FBR had assured to roll out the track and trace system by July this year but now the Sindh High Court has given a stay on it.
He directed the Law Minister to apprise the high court of the actual situation to get the stay vacated as the tax evasion cannot be checked without automation.
He noted that due to tax evasion, we have to rely on indirect taxes which leads to price hike.
On electoral reforms, the Prime Minister said electronic voting machines have become inevitable to ensure transparency in the elections.
He said the cabinet should regularly be updated about the progress made towards this end as well as giving the right of franchise to overseas Pakistanis.
Later briefing journalists on the decisions taken by the federal cabinet, which met here with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said federal cabinet approved a record Ramadan Relief Package worth 7.8 billion rupees on 19 essential items to facilitate the common people during the holy month through the network of Utility Stores across Pakistan.
They said earlier this subsidy was available on five items only. He said sale of the Utility Stores Corporation is likely to reach 100 billion rupees this year and it is expected that USC will earn some profit as well.
Hammad Azhar said the cabinet has also approved to run two small urea plants of private sectors from this month to meet requirements of the farmers.
He said large scale manufacturing showed a growth of 9.1 percent in January this year.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the cabinet ordered forensic audit of the loss making entities and in the first phase, ten such entities will pass through this process, which will be completed by 30 June this year.
He said it is worth mentioning that 51 out of 85 loss-making State Owned Enterprises have become profitable due to prudent polices of the government.
Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said approval was also granted to the new arms license policy about prohibited and non-prohibited bore.
He said the cabinet too approved issuance of smart cards to Afghan refugees, having Proof of Registration (PoR) cards so that their life can be made easy and for swift resolution of their problems.