Govt not reversing tax concessions, revising gas, power rates


—Info minister says govt not considering any increase in income tax on salaried class

–Says metro projects initiated by PML-N govt will be investigated, Punjab govt giving Rs8bn subsidy on three metro projects

–Govt creates board of governors for PTV, abolishes CADD 


ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday said that the government was neither mulling an increase in the income tax on salaried individuals nor had it increased gas and electricity prices.

Addressing a press conference following a meeting of the federal cabinet, the minister rejected media reports on the matter and said that “newspapers print headlines about things that never happen”.

“Newspaper headlines said tariff of gas and electricity was being increased, but it was not true. There were newspaper reports of the government increasing income tax rates for the salaried class but nothing like that has happened either,” he claimed.

Earlier, it was being reported in the local media that the government was planning to reverse tax concessions, running in billions, offered by the previous government and bring down the threshold of income tax exemption on salaried class.

Speaking at the presser, Fawad also denied that the amendments proposed in the Income Tax Ordinance were rejected by the cabinet, adding that they were not on the agenda of the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier in the day.

“The matter of proposed amendments will be brought up in the next parliamentary session,” he added.

During the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the federal cabinet which discussed a nine-point agenda.

Fawad further said that the federal government has decided to investigate the cost of the metro projects initiated in the previous government’s tenure.

He shed light on the costs of the metro projects and other plans, which were a brainchild of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.

The minister outlined the costs associated with metro bus projects in Islamabad, Lahore and Multan.

“The Punjab government is giving a subsidy of approximately Rs 8 billion on these projects. If this subsidy is not given, all of these projects would close,” Fawad said.

The federal minister informed reporters that the Punjab government was giving a subsidy of Rs 4.2 billion on the Lahore metro bus, while the Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro bus — that was built at a cost of approx Rs 39 billion — was being given a subsidy of Rs 2 billion. He added that the cost of the metro bus project in Multan was Rs29 billion while the subsidy being given on it was Rs2.1 billion.

The federal minister said that the three public transport projects “are substandard”.

“In a country where people are crying for clean drinking water and health and education facilities, we are paying Rs 8 billion subsidy just to run three metro bus projects. Therefore, the cabinet has decided to hold audit of these projects,” the minister stated.

Fawad further said that the cost of constructing the metro project in Peshawar would be Rs 67 billion, however, unlike the projects in Punjab there would be no requirement for a subsidy as the buses were owned not rented.

Commenting on the Orange Line Metro Train project in Lahore, the minister said the project’s cost had reached Rs 250 billion.

“In this cost or a little more we could have doubled the track going from Khyber to Karachi. We do not know about the subsidy on this project. It seems when it is completed we will need to pay a subsidy of over Rs3.5 billion to run the train.”

The expenditure of the Prime Minister’s House in the last five years was Rs 2.30 billion, meanwhile, the Punjab Chief Minister’s House spent Rs 2.90 billion in the same time, said the information minister.


The federal minister informed reporters that the cabinet approved the formation of a board of governors (BoG) for Pakistan Television (PTV) to be chaired by a minister.

For the first time, the board will consist of eight independent people, including information secretary, who would be the vice chairman, Higher Education Commission chairman, additional secretary finance, DG ISPR and PTV MD.

The minister informed the press of some members which included Barrister Ali Zafar, Arshad Khan who was being considered for PTV MD, Zohair Khaliq, MNA Shunila Ruth, Professor Ijazul Ehsan, Dr Humayun Ehsan and Savail Hussain. He added that Mustafa Nawaz Khokar and Qamar Zaman Kaira will be included in the PTV’s editorial board. He said that all the positions for the board of governors in PTV are voluntary.

Fawad Chaudhry said that the government will protect the rights of media workers and journalists.

The minister said he had written a letter to Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) to ensure payment of salaries to employees asking them to suggest as to how the government could help them.

The cabinet also gave approval to appointment of Haroon Sharif as Chairman Board of Investment.


The meeting of the federal cabinet also approved the abolition of the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) and issued directives that will bring matters pertaining to health under the Ministry of National Health Services.

Fawad said that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) will work under the Interior Ministry.

Moreover, the information minister said efforts of the chief justice for the dam fund were commended during the cabinet meeting, adding that the dam fund would be exempted from income and withholding tax.

Fawad further said that for bringing back money stashed abroad illegally, it has been decided to form a recovery unit. The in-charge of the unit will be prime minister’s special assistant Shahzad Akbar.

The minister further said that the former government did not provide gas to the fertiliser plants, which led to a halt in urea production. “Now the government will have to import 100,000 tonnes of urea,” he said.

He said that the decision had been taken to utilize dead capital of 34,459 kanal state land under the guest houses for commercial purpose out of which 17035 kanal were located in urban areas.



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