Govt wants business community major partner : Tarin
KARACHI, Aug 21 (APP):Federal Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin on Friday sought business community’s full cooperation for review new policies on trade, investment and other economic issues including restructure of Federal Board of Revenue.
“Together with you, we PTI government will make Pakistan as an economic power. I assure you, you will be heard and your problems will be resolved. If you will be not be satisfied, the country cannot prosper,” he assured during separate interactive meetings with office bearers and members of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan Business Council and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry here.
He was accompanied by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr.Waqar Masood and Chairman FBR, Asim Ahmad. At OICCI, prominent business figures were President OICCI Irfan Siddiqui, Deputy Secretary General Moin Mohajir, Chief Executive Officer of Arif Habib Corporation Limited, Arif Habib, CEO of BankIslami Syed Amir Ali, FPCCI team included Senior Vice President Shahzeb Akram, who presided over the meeting in the absence of President Main Nasser Hayyat Maggo, former presidents Mian Anjum Nisar, Zakria Usman and Senator Ghulam Ali, former senior vice president Shaukat Ahmed, former vice presidents Engr. M.A. Jabbar, Amjad Rafi and Sheikh Sultan.
Federal Finance Minister reaffirmed to the business community that in pursuance of the Prime Minister’s vision and directives for enhanced interaction of the government functionaries with business community of the country and due consultation on important economic issues for result-oriented policies and programs, he would be holding
quarterly meetings with the main trade bodies including FPCCI, OICCI
and PBC to get their input.
The minutes of these meetings would be formulated which would be discussed and reviewed in next meeting to see the progress besides taking up new issues/subjects to work on in future, he added.
He said the Prime Minister had vigilant eye on you and was always ready to meet and listen to you. The Government wanted to take the business community along as the major stakeholder and needed concrete recommendations from them.
“We shall debate on your recommendations in such a way that IMF conditions may not breach as well as your interests are guarded. You are partner and you would feel that partnership,” he remarked.
In 1968, only West Pakistan was 4rth progressive economy of the world and we have to take it to same position once again. For this purpose, every citizen would have to contribute sincerely and in an organized way.
On pointation by business community leaders, Shaukat Tarin assured that there would be no harassment from FBR and even the notices issued would be withdrawn.
In future, there would be self-assessment scheme wherein the businessmen would have to declare their incomes honestly in their returns.
However, the government would use third party audit option in case of doubt in declaration in returns. FBR would remain out even in these cases. The filer would ave to respond and satisfy third-party audit team.
“3 or 4 % cases at random may be handed over to this audit party,” he added.
He said there were 15 million non-fliers and they would face action if did not come into tax net despite polite warnings from FBR.
Through artificial intelligence, he continued, non-filers would be informed that FBR had detailed information about their income and that such amount of tax was due on them.
This would be a revolutionary tax programme, he said.
About section 203 of tax collection law, the Minister assured that there would be no misuse.
“You help us, we don’t want to harass business community,” he committed.
Finance Minister regretted that being an agriculture country, Pakistan had become permanent food importer.
There was dire need to focus on increasing agriculture yield. He cited the example of cotton production suggesting that once Pakistan produced more cotton than India.
Now, we are at six million bales of cotton while the latter was producing around 37 million bales.
Similarly, our wheat, rice and sugar production was stagnant over last couple of years.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was concerned on increase in food prices. However, the government efforts had started yielding and these have come down.
To a question, he said the core inflation was at 7 percent and if the government succeeded in reducing it , then State Bank of Pakistan would have space to bring its policy rate down.
About smuggled goods being sold, he sought cooperation of shopkeepers to curb this menace and save the local industry and the country’s economy from damages.
On pointation by FPCCI’s former president Mian Anjum Nisar, the Finance Minister assured that the current refunds would not be in pending and the back-log would be cleared in next 16 to 18 months.
During a chat with media at FPCCI, Shaukat Tarin said Pakistan should take maximum advantage of changing situation in Afghanistan as it was opening to the world. It would prove the best opportunity for Pakistan in increase bilateral trade and investment.
“However, let us see, where things are going in Afghanistan,” he added.
Finance Minister and Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue , and FBR Chairman responded to queries by business community members at OCCI and FPCCI.