Finance Ministry consults business community for budget

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Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, has said that the ministry has identified 7,000,00 new entities who can be taxed, and hopefully inclusion of them into the tax net will necessarily facilitate us in our endeavur to broaden the tax net and correct the tax-GDP ratio.
While addressing representatives of the Pakistan Business Community here on Tuesday, he said that they are communicating with all the segments of the business and corporate sector of the country to devise a mechanism whereby can seek new avenues for the generation of income and facilitate them for their further investment in the country.
He welcomed practical suggestions from them so that the government may decide to accord priority to the resolution of the issues which were emergent and need immediate attention.
The Minister while responding to a proposal by one of the participants about the taxing of the agriculture sector, said that he himself believe that all incomes irrespective of the sources must be taxed, but under the prevalent constitution to which they owe, agri-tax was a provincial subject.
The Minister appreciated the role of the private sector as an engine of growth in an open society.
In Pakistan the private sector, he said, has been contributing a positive role, and the government and Ministry of Finance has called this forum to accumulate the various suggestions and proposals in order to have strengthen their role in developing the economy on sound footing.
On one of the reservations by one of the representatives about the tax refund system, the Minister informed the business community that since September 2009 to April 2011 more than 50,000 cheques amounting to more than Rs40 billion have been issued under a computerized programming of the Federal Board of Revenue.
And, he said, “we are still struggling to make this tax refund system more transparent and machine operated instead of manual operation.”
Earlier at the start of the meeting, the Minister highlighted the difficult situation when the present government had assumed office, and said there was macro-economic crisis, external situation grim, and revenue generation has been under severe threat.
“Now we have almost overcome the expenditure he said, and asked for more and more suggestions from the business community and other sections of the society to come out with concrete and practical suggestions in this regard so that the squandering of the national remitted wealth be saved and dedicate it for further economic development.”
The meeting was attended by the President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, KCCI, Rice Exporters Association, Pakistan American Business Council, Pakistan Electric Fan Industry, All Pakistan Private Universities Association, PGMRA, and from the official side, Dy. Chairman Planning Commission, Secretary Revenue Division, Secretary Commerce, Governor SBP and many others.