In­cen­tives for for­eign in­vestors to be im­proved in bud­get: Ha­roon

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Prime Min­is­ter on Rev­enue, Ha­roon Akhter, has ex­pressed his con­fi­dence that the vastly im­proved macro-eco­nomic pa­ram­e­ters will pro­vide a launch­ing pad for growth-ori­ented eco­nomic poli­cies in the up­com­ing bud­get.

In an in­ter­ac­tive ses­sion with lead­ing for­eign in­vestors in Pak­istan dur­ing his visit to Overseas In­vestor Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (OICCI) to dis­cuss its tax­a­tion pro­pos­als for 2016-17 Fed­eral Bud­get, here on Mon­day, he said in­cen­tives for for­eign in­vestors will be im­proved.

He was ac­com­pa­nied by FBR Mem­ber Tax Pol­icy Rehmat­ul­lah Wazeer, CC LTU Karachi Syed Ayaz Mah­mood and CC Cus­toms Shaikh Rasheed. Ha­roon Akhter in­formed that the en­tire gov­ern­ment ma­chin­ery, in­clud­ing the Prime Min­is­ter, are fo­cused on in­creas­ing the level of FDI into the coun­try as per coun­try's eco­nomic po­ten­tial. He said China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) project will be a game changer for the econ­omy and peo­ple of Pak­istan.

The PM's Spe­cial As­sis­tant ap­pre­ci­ated OICCI tax­a­tion pro­pos­als. Com­ment­ing on the ma­jor points of the pro­pos­als, he said the gov­ern­ment is ag­gres­sively pur­su­ing ini­tia­tives to broaden tax base. He warned tax evaders that the FBR is now very well equipped with data and skill to catch tax eva­sion. Ha­roon Akhter was con­fi­dent that it is only a mat­ter of time that tax evaders, in­clud­ing those not pay­ing duty on cig­a­rette and other prod­ucts, will be caught and pun­ished se­verely.

He also re­ferred to the re­cent Vol­un­tary Tax Com­pli­ance Scheme (VTCS) and men­tioned that it was part of tax broad­en­ing process. The PM's Spe­cial As­sis­tant in­formed that last year con­ces­sions worth Rs 221 bil­lion given through SROs were with­drawn, and an­other Rs 120 bil­lion will be with­drawn in 2016-17 bud­get.

He men­tioned that FBR's IT in­fras­truc- ture is un­der­go­ing sub­stan­tial im­prove­ment which will not only con­nect var­i­ous avail­able data­bases to iden­tify new tax­pay­ers but also will ad­dress op­er­a­tional is­sues of tax­pay­ers.

Ha­roon Akhter found the Tax Re­form Com­mis­sion re­port to be of high qual­ity. He in­formed that he is chair­ing a com­mit­tee to mon­i­tor its im­ple­men­ta­tion on a pri­or­ity ba­sis. He high­lighted gov­ern­ment's key achieve­ments since 2013.

He men­tioned that good poli­cies have re­sulted in "Im­prove­ment in the coun­try's over­all se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment, es­pe­cially in Karachi and Balochis­tan, re­duc­tion in the level of power and gas load shed­ding, low­er­ing of in­fla­tion, re­duc­tion in bank bor­row­ing rates, re­duced fis­cal deficit, GDP growth go­ing up from 2-3 per­cent to be­yond 4.5 per cent for the first time in many years, com­fort­able for­eign ex­change re­serves, ro­bust per­for­mance of PSE index, be­sides im­prove­ment in in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic rat­ings of the coun­try."

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