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Finance Minister Miftah Ismail dispels impression of further burdening masses with more taxes

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail dispels impression of further burdening masses with more taxes

ISLAMABAD: The Finance Minister Dr Miftah Ismail, dispelled the perception of further burdening the masses with more taxes through the finance bill 2018, saying that tax relief to all segments of society had been provided through budget for fiscal year 2018-19 and additional taxes were avoided which was  unprecedented in the budgetary history of the country.

He further said that the government had given unprecedented tax relief to every segment of the society in the next year’s budget. The non-filers of tax returns will not be able to purchase property but the limit for this purpose has been enhanced from four million rupees to five million rupees. He said that for low income people, 50% tax exemption was being provided on sales of house up to Rs2.5 million.

Winding up debate on the next year’s fiscal budget, Finance Minister announced to exempt the matches industry from sales tax; the government had given relief to the low income people by exempting their incomes from tax, so they could now utilize this money on other expenditures including education.

He rejected claims of the some members of the House that the government at one side had withdrawn taxes of about Rs 184 billion and imposed other taxes of Rs400 billion, categorically saying that the government did not impose Rs 30 billion taxes on petroleum products, nor was it intending to do so in future and enhancing the upper limit of petroleum levy was a constitutional requirement.

He said that in order to provide cheap electricity to the consumers, subsidy of Rs150 billion was being provided; the government was taking measures to promote agricultural sector, and taxes on all fertilizers has been reduced to 2 per cent. In order to promote local gypsum and overcome gypsum deficiency in cultivable land, 20 per cent duty is being imposed on import of gypsum.

He said that as many as 157 recommendations were received from Senate, out of which 108 were related to the Federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), which had been forwarded to Planning and Development Division for further consideration. The remaining forty nine recommendations were pertaining to the finance ministry. He said of these forty two have been adopted fully or partially.

Explaining issues related to exports, the minister said that exports had suffered due to recession in international market, internal security problems and energy crisis during the last some years, however the government had announced export package, which resulted in enhancing the exports of the country, adding the exports witnessed increase of 24% in March 2018 and 18% in April 2018.