LAHORE: Punjab Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghouse Pasha Saturday said that the main focus of the provincial budget 2015-16 was on ensuring maximum ease for the poor, youth empowerment, overcoming energy crisis, increased agricultural produces, infrastructural development and a viable tax regime.
Addressing the post-budget press conference here, she said that the salient features of Punjab’s economic growth strategy were:raising provincial development growth to 7-8 per cent by 2018, creation of one million jobs annually, double the private investment in the province till 2018, taking all possible measures to eliminate terrorism, to ensure protection to the life and property of the masses, and to raise export volume by 15 percent.
The minister said that the government had initiated the tax reduction regime for small taxpayers or non-formal businesses under which the general sales tax (GST) on services had been reduced.
GST on the services of laundries and dry cleaners, car/automobile dealers, auto workshops, electric/electronic home appliances workshops, healthcare, gyms and fitness, tour operators and travel agent, hair cutting saloons, property dealers, construction services for individual residential dwellings, and services by accountants, auditors, actuaries, tax consultants, company secretaries, receivers, liquidators, auctioneers and corporate law consultants had been reduced to 5 from 16 per cent.
Two percent GST was imposed on services provided to the textile, leather, surgical and sporting goods sectors in respect of manufacturing or processing on toll or job basis (against processing on conversion charges) and 10 percent on the services of franchises.
Dr Aysha said that the notification regarding levying of tax on the Internet services had been withdrawn. The Internet was totally tax-free, she added.
She said it was kept in view that the poor should be disproportionately burdened. The leakages in the revenue collection machinery were being plugged through computerization and adopting modern tax methodologies. Reforms were being introduced in all public sector departments.