Shamshad for tax to GDP improvement to fund dev projects

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Mohammad Arshad

Islamabad

The caretaker Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Wednesday, stressed the need to improve tax to GDP ratio of the country to fund the development projects.
In a meeting while reviewing the performance of the Federal Board of Revenue in the current financial Year (2017-2018), she also sought the feedback from the FBR Chief on the impact of different amnesty schemes and tax rebates offered by the previous government on the revenue collection targets.
The Minister also stressed the need for the up-gradation of the tax system through the use of technology. After the meeting, the Minister directed Chairman FBR to make all possible effort to achieve the revenue collection targets this year. The Chairman assured the Minister of his all possible cooperation on the matter. The meeting was attended by senior officers of Ministry of Finance and Federal Board of Revenue.
FBR Chairman Tariq Mehmood Pasha, felicitated the Minister on assuming her new responsibilities and gave a detailed presentation on the measures so far being taken by the Federal Board of Revenue to achieve the tax collection targets, the major steps taken by FBR to facilitate the tax payers and the key achievements of FBR during the last five year’s period. The Chairman briefed the Minister that the tax to GDP ratio has increased from 8.7% in 2012-13 to 12.4% of GDP in 2017-18.
He told that the number of tax return filers has almost doubled to 1.4 million till 2017-18 and worth Rs.300 billion of SROs have been eliminated as a major reform to broaden the tax system. He also said that for the facilitation of the tax payers their CNIC has been adopted as the National Tax Number and the number of tax slabs have been reduced to 4 from 7.
He also mentioned the queue management system for the Sales Tax Refund and direct transfer of sales tax refunds into tax payer’s accounts as major reforms to upgrade the tax system in the country.
The Minister during the meeting discussed the overall macro-economic condition of the country and the importance of FBR as the major revenue generation source for the Government’s operations. In a separate meeting Finance Minister also reviewed different FATF related issues.
Meanwhile, chairing a meeting at the Ministry of Commerce to review the ministry’s performance, she discussed in detail the short term measures that could reduce the imports and steps that could make the exports more competitive.
Finance Minister, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar stressed the need for designing a fiscal policy that benefits businesses. “We need to design a fiscal policy that facilitates the businesses, we would like to do spade work for the upcoming governments, so that the country could benefit in future,” Dr Shamshad, who also holds portfolio of the Minister for Commerce, said while talking about the impact of the fiscal policy on trade and investment decisions. She directed the Ministry of Commerce to give a detailed briefing in the next week, on the non-essential imports of the country, besides preparing a detailed paper on the subjects by Monday. She also directed the ministry to bring a detailed input on the structural issues faced by the Ministry of Commerce.
The minister appreciated the efforts of the ministry in highlighting important issues and assured of her utmost cooperation on all matters of immediate concern.

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