Upcoming budget based on pro-people, sustainable economic growth: Tarin

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Monday said the government will announce a growth-oriented and business-friendly budget for the next fiscal year (FY22), provide relief to the common man and encourage self-assessment and incentivise businessmen and traders to pay taxes in line with best international practices.

“The government firmly believes in a pro-people budget,” Tarin added.

He stated this while chairing a consultative meeting with senior representatives of the Pakistan Business Council (PBC), Pak-US Business Council (PUBC), Overseas Investment Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) held at the Finance Division.

Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood Khan, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Asim Ahmed and his team were present in the meeting.

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He said that Pakistan has witnessed V-shape recovery amid pandemic due to prudent economic policies. The government has identified 12 sectors, under the banner of Economic Advisory Council (EAC), to formulate short, medium and long-term strategies to achieve an inclusive sustainable economic growth and social development with special focus on agriculture, housing, exports and revenue mobilisation.

Commenting on the federal budget, Tarin said the upcoming budget envisaged maximum relief to the common man and will come up with innovative out-of-the-box alternatives to achieve the revenue targets, by providing incentives and facilities, besides broadening the tax base rather than new taxes.

“There will be no regressive taxation and stern action will be taken against tax evaders,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, business delegations demanded reforms in the taxation regime that lead to sustainable growth of both the country and its tax revenues;however, they agreed that these changes were dependent on political will and the FBR’s capability and capacity to implement.

“The impact of taxes on manufacturing vs commercial importers should be reviewed”, it said, adding the FBR and the formal sector should work in partnership to broaden the tax base and the earlier tax credit to encourage taxpayers to transact with the formal sector should be revived.

The big businesses also called for mining the vast amount of information on non-taxpayers provided by withholding agents and higher advance taxes should be levied on utility bills of non-tax filers.

At the same time, corporate entities, especially those listed, which operate to a higher standard of governance and accountability and their shareholders must not be penalised in comparison to unincorporated entities and their owners, otherwise the incentive to incorporate will be undermined.

There were also suggestions for providing a level playing field in the holding periods for capital gains tax on sale of company shares vs real estate.

Later, the Finance Minister held a virtual meeting with the delegation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) through a video link.

He said the government was pursuing a strategy to achieve robust economic growth to benefit under-privileged and middle class for ensuring equal distribution of economic gains across all segments of society whereas the country’s economy is showing signs of recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic, with construction and manufacturing sectors in lead.

However, he said that smart and micro lockdowns during the third wave have posed new challenges.

He assured that the suggestions presented during the meetings for the upcoming budget’s preparation would be accorded due consideration.

He also assured to have a regular interaction with members of FPCCI and affirmed that all key stakeholders would be taken on board before making important economic decisions.

 

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