Minister says next budget will be industry-friendly

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Provincial Minister for Finance Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha has said that promotion of industries is the top priority of the government and the upcoming budget will offer great opportunities for industrialists.

The minister said Tuesday that increase in production is necessary for improving the growth rate. She said that best human resource services would be provided to industries during the next financial year which would result in increase in production and elimination of unemployment from the country. She said that for this purpose, skills development is being given special attention. She said that education, health and agriculture sector will be at the top of the list of priorities in the next budget.

Speaking during a meeting with Punjab Chamber of Commerce and Industry regarding preparation of budget, the minister said that proposals of the Chamber will provide guidance in preparing the budget. She said that increase in growth rate is a common interest, therefore, help and assistance of industrialists to the government is of vital importance in this regard.

Punjab Revenue Authority Chairman Raheel Ahmed Siddquie, Additional Finance Secretary Muhammad Usman and Citizen Budget Executive Faisal Rasheed were also present on the occasion.

Referring to reservations regarding property tax and sales tax, Ayesha Ghaus Pasha said that federal government has a share of 78 per cent in the expenditure of the province which is fulfilled through taxes. She said that in order to reduce reliance on federal government, it is necessary to promote tax culture at the provincial level.

Addressing the complaint of double taxation by Federal Board of Revenue and PRA, Revenue Authority Chairman Raheel Ahmed said that negotiations are continuing with FBR and the confusion of tax payers regarding the payment of tax will soon be removed. Replying to a question of businessmen regarding concession in sales tax, Raheel Ahmed Siddique said that special concession had been given by the government in tax on 11 services and that despite assurances some of the people were not paying their due tax nor getting themselves registered. He said that it is necessary for the businesspersons to meet the terms and conditions of the government in order to benefit from the opportunity. He said that increase in payment of taxes will lead to reduction in tax rate. The PRA Chairman said that Punjab Revenue Authority is promoting a culture of transparency in tax. He said that a website has been launched with regard to proposals for reforms in budget and tax policy. He said that the Authority is waiting for suggestions of stakeholders.