‘Flat tax scheme, rent control act to become reality soon’

ISLAMABAD: Ensuring the businessmen of Islamabad that a balanced rent control bill would be presented in the parliament soon, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar said on Thursday that the flat tax scheme would be implemented in the capital city within a couple of weeks to facilitate small traders.

Addressing the ‘Traders Convention’ organised by Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), the state minister said there was no doubt that Islamabad needed a rent control act.

“Finance Minister Asad Umar, as well as the party’s senior leadership, had rigorously strived to table this act before the parliament during the last five years. However, due to a lack of majority vote, the act could not be passed,” he stated. “Since Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is now in the government, this bill will be given a priority.”

He said that the draft already prepared with the consultation of businessmen would be reviewed; adding that with the consultation of owners and renters, the exercise of drafting a bill would be completed as soon as possible.

The state minister assured the businessmen that balance would be stricken in drafting the bill so as to protect the rights of both owners and renters.

He informed the businessmen that the government had been involved in consultation with trade organisations in Islamabad for implementing a flat tax scheme in the capital to facilitate small traders.

He said that the system would introduce an easy tax filing process and would help eliminate the element of harassment once and for all.

“Consultations for flat tax scheme are in the final stage and will achieve finality soon. The final round of consultations will be held within two weeks, following which the scheme will be launched,” he added.

Azhar said initially, the scheme would be launched in Islamabad and afterwards, some months would be replicated all over the country, adding that this would help resolve many issues of both governments as well as small traders.

Talking about the overall economic situation of the country, the minister said that the economy has been improving as shown by many indicators.

“The overall economy was in shabby condition when PTI took over, as the current account deficit was touching $19 billion figure; there were $10 billion external payment liabilities; foreign exchange reserves were losing around $1 billion every month and imports were expanding by 15pc to 20pc,” he informed the ICCI office bearers.

He said that there has been considerable negative growth in imports whereas the current account deficit also witnessed negative growth of 72pc in February, the five years lowest.

The minister, however, was of the view that the country would have to go through some “hard time” to achieve economic targets.

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