‘Govt restructuring economic fundamentals, strengthening regulatory regime’

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  • Finance minister says presence of professionals in govt policy boards will eventually improve the functional efficiency of all national institutions

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Wednesday that the government is working on restructuring the economic fundamentals and strengthening the regulatory regimes by putting the best professionals of the country as well as overseas Pakistanis on its policy boards.

“It will eventually improve the functional efficiency of all national institutions, which is imperative to attain sustainable long-term economic development in the country,” he stated while addressing a two-day ‘Leaders in Islamabad Business Summit’.

The finance minister said the government has formed a five-member committee to select best professionals of the country in a transparent manner so that they could be appointed in the government organisations.

“Regulatory regime has been strengthened as best professionals of the field have been taken on the policy board of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan,” Umar said, adding that in order to promote a friendly tax culture, members from the private sector have been included for the first time in the FBR policy board.

He said that the government has also appointed overseas Pakistanis as heads of different national organisations, including National Bank of Pakistan, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, National Investment Trust and other national institutions, on merit and without any political consideration.

The finance minister said that the small and medium enterprises have been facing access-to-credit issues and the government is taking practical measures to address these problems by facilitating the supply and by ensuring the provision of easy loans.

He said that the government is also promoting the use of technology in its workings so as to overcome issues pertaining to tax evasion and corruption. “By the next month, a track and trace system would be installed. In the first phase, the system would be applied in the tobacco sector to check under-invoicing,” he added.

The minister said that communication among the data collecting authorities, including NADRA and FBR, would be strengthened further so that the potential taxpayers are brought under the tax net.

He said that the government has provided facilities to the export sector and the outcomes from the textile sector would be visible by next month. An agreement with China would also be finalised which would significantly help promote the local exports, he informed.

The minister said that long term financing for the textile sector would be increased from the current level of Rs1.5 billion.

Speaking on the occasion, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood said that the government is striving hard to promote SMEs, adding that taxes on the import of raw material have already been reduced for the small enterprises.

He said that the government is amending the Duty and Tax Remission Scheme (DTRE). “A draft the amendments has been finalised and will be approved soon.”

Dawood said that the government is also taking concrete steps to facilitate the industrial sector in order to produce an export surplus and to discourage imports.

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