NA committee directs FBR to expedite tax refund process

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs on Wednesday directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to accelerate the procedure of tax refunds in order to facilitate the business community. 

The committee, which met here under the chairmanship of Member National Assembly (MNA) Faiz Ullah, was briefed by FBR Member (Inland Revenue) Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed regarding the refunds issued by the FBR in respect of Income Tax and Sales Tax. 

Ashfaq Ahmed also shared the details of the refunds issued to exporters during the current fiscal year.

The committee expressed its satisfaction on the presentation given by the FBR member.

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Meanwhile, the FBR member briefed the committee regarding the expected collection of revenues towards achieving the revenue targets set by the government in the Budget 2020-21.

The committee, while appreciating FBR’s efforts, directed it to furnish the details of refunds that were pending before 2014. 

The committee further recommended that a special package should be provided to the families of 31 FBR officials who died recently, during service, due to Covid-19. The committee also directed the FBR chairman to provide further incentives to FBR employees.

Ministry of Finance Additional Secretary Sohail Rajput informed the committee regarding the reason for delay in the formation of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited’s (ZTBL) board. He said that the proposed nominations were sent to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for necessary actions including security clearance since the last two months, however no response has been received from the SBP as of yet. 

The committee expressed its displeasure on the procedural delays by the SBP and directed the Ministry of Finance additional secretary to intervene and submit a summary for the formation of the board before the prime minister. 

During the meeting, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishter briefed the committee about the Ehsaas Programme launched by the government for the distribution of funds to vulnerable families in Pakistan, during the current Covid-19 pandemic. 

She informed that through the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Project 16.9 million families would be provided with a one time payment of Rs12,000 per family.

She also shed light on international practices pertaining to cash transfer programmes and said that unconditional cash transfer programmes have a much lower cost per beneficiary compared to in kind or food distribution programmes. 

The committee assured Sania Nisther of its full cooperation regarding the Ehsaas Programme.

The committee members expressed their concerns regarding the functioning of the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) and unanimously decided that an exclusive meeting would be called to discuss the subsidy given by the USC to the common people and the Rs50 billion package allocated to USC by the government.



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