ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Senator Haroon Akhtar Khan has said the government has doubled the country’s GDP growth as well as the tax revenue and halved the inflation during the last five years.
“The economic indicators themselves are a proof of the gains we have achieved on these fronts and this has been made possible by the prudent and realistic economic policies of the government,” he said while talking to participants of the 108th National Management Course who visited the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) House here on Wednesday to have a strategic vision and understanding of the working of FBR and its role in fiscal policy.
He noted that Pakistan’s imports were increasing mainly because of buoyancy and strength of the economy and demand for foreign machinery for the burgeoning local industry. “We have been able to arrest and reverse the declining trend in our exports which since July last year have rebounded, showing almost 12 per cent growth,” he said.
However, he said a long-term solution to the country’s economic woes lay in strengthening the manufacturing base to achieve and ensure a sustainable 7 per cent growth rate in coming years. “In my view, building the manufacturing base and making use of cheap labour available in Pakistan is the key to jumpstarting growth in the country,” he said.
The minister pointed out that despite hardships, low inflation and cheap prices, particularly of petrol which was the cheapest in Pakistan throughout this region, the tax machinery had done exceedingly well by almost doubling the tax revenues during the last five years. “In 2013, when the government took over, the tax revenue stood at 1946 and we are positive we would be able to double this figure before the close of the ongoing tax year,” he added.
He said that because of enhanced revenue, the government had been able to transfer an extra Rs3,000 billion to the provinces during the last five years, allowing the provincial governments greater fiscal space and freedom to launch and execute mega projects.
Meanwhile, Haroon Akhtar Khan chaired a meeting of the high-powered Implementation Committee-Tax Reforms Commission (TRC) at the FBR House today to review and discuss various proposals and recommendations regarding taxation for the upcoming budget.
The minister underlined that the government was aiming for a balanced and pro-growth budget focusing more on relief and incentives for the filers and disincentives for the non-filers with a view to broadening the tax base. He said the government wanted to facilitate the business community by providing them a level-playing field to grow their businesses and contribute to revenue generation.