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Rana Afzal rules out new tax in next budget

Rana Afzal rules out new tax in next budget

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal has said that the government was not imposing any new tax in the budget 2018-19 to facilitate especially common people.

“The government wanted to provide maximum relief to people belonging to all sectors of life in the budget,” Rana Afzal said while addressing a pre-budget seminar organized by National Press Club here.

The minister said that due to a number of reforms introduced by the current government in taxation system, the revenue collection had been doubled to over Rs 4 trillion in the year 2017-18 compared to Rs 1.9 trillion in 2013 besides, expansion of tax base from 775,000 to over 1.2 million tax payers.

He said in 2013, Pakistan was on the verge of being declared as a defaulter and a failed state, but the new government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) took a number of initiatives to strengthen economy which has resulted in a record economic growth of 5.8 per cent which was the highest in 13 years.

However, the minister admitted that there were still few challenges to the country’s economy which needed to be addressed immediately.

He said although fiscal deficit witnessed sharp increase during current year, but the economic team of the federal government was endeavoring to contain it to five per cent by end of current fiscal year.

“Our exports are now growing by 13 percent while during March, 2018, the exports witnessed an increase of around 23 per cent which was a positive sign for the country’s economy,” he said adding that bumper crops, controlled inflation, increasing remittances were the positive signs for our economy.

He also called upon the opposition to get together for evolving a charter of economy and to prepare responsible economic policies so that the country could achieve sustained economic growth.

He also called upon the people of Pakistan to provide PML-N another chance to rule the country for next tenure in order to ensure continuation of economic policies and reforms introduced by the current government in next five years as well.

To a question regarding tax amnesty scheme, the minister said that through this scheme nobody will be affected, however it would help expanding tax net and collection of more revenues.

Earlier, Former Chairman FBR Dr Muhammad Irshad said that salaried class was being provided a big relief in terms of taxes in the next budget. He hoped that the government would not impose any new taxes.

He pointed out that the main problem in Pakistan’s taxation system was narrow tax base and this problem could be resolved by taking measures to broaden tax base in the country.

Another dilemma in taxation system, he said was lack of balance between direct and indirect taxes.

Regarding tax amnesty scheme he expressed reservations and said that it should have been announced after developing political consensus.

Former Secretary Finance, Dr Waqar Masood said the country witnessed strong growth during current fiscal year and touched 5.8 percent, the highest in over a decade.

Fiscal deficit, he said was the mother of all evils in country’s economy which saw a sudden jump during current year to 6 percent. He said during previous few years, the government had to spend billions of dollars to support for stabilizing value of Pak rupee.