ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said the international donors had appreciated the direction set by the government in the budget and there was no harm to get fresh bailout package from the IMF for repaying its outstanding loans.
“The IMF Mission is coming to Pakistan from June 19 for holding Post Program Monitoring (PPM) talks as I had refused to go abroad for holding talks with them in Washington or Dubai,” he said while addressing post budget press conference. He said the previous government obtained $8.5 billion from the IMF and utilised them and currently foreign currency reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan were just standing at over $6 billion.
Now the PML (N) had to make heavy repayments for these loans, he added. He said that he had constituted a committee to finalise exact figures in this reference which would be shared with everyone. Dar said some 3114 affectees of higher salaried income slabs earning had ganged up against the government on the social media but he would not be blackmailed and the decision would not be reversed.
“We have found that there will be only 3114 individuals who will contribute more in terms of paying increased income tax as they are having handsome annual income from the next financial year. I have seen that those people ganged up against the government on the social media,” he added. He said the taxation measures taken in the budget would yield additional revenues upto Rs 202 billion by increasing GST rate from 16 to 17 percent. He argued that the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) just like GST in UK was standing more than 22 percent and people accepted it for the sake of betterment of their country’s economy.
The FBR, he said, was assigned to collect Rs 2475 billion tax collection target in the next financial year against revised estimates of Rs 2007 billion in the outgoing fiscal year. Answering criticism on return of decade of 90s for increasing reliance on Withholding Tax regime, he said that it was imposed in adjustable mode and it could not be termed as indirect tax. “There will be inflationary impact on account of withholding taxes,” he claimed.
The maximum rate of salaried slabs was proposed at 30 percent while in case of non corporate and Association of Persons (AOPs), the proposed tax rate was 35 percent in the Finance Bill 2013. He explained the government did not impose taxes on essential items of foods in the budget and added in the same breath that those who used imported beverages they should pay their due share in taxes. “Those who claimed to be patriotic Pakistanis should come forward to contribute into national kitty on voluntary basis,” he said and concluded that the FBR would find out 0.5 million new taxpayers in a bid to broaden the narrowed tax base.