The schemes would generate Rs 180 billion in terms of tax collection. Sources informed TheNation on Thursday that the government would table the bills of Volunteer Investment Tax Scheme and Volunteer Registration Scheme in the upcoming sessions of the National Assembly and Senate, which would start from October 5 and 8 respectively. The government has planned to generate some Rs 180 billion by these schemes, which were criticised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the recent concluded talks.
These schemes are of a kind of opportunity for the rich to get them registered as taxpayers and pay their due taxes for national development. These two schemes are expected to bring in to tax net a huge number of rich and expected revenue from these two schemes is estimated at Rs 180 billion. Tax authorities have already identified 1.718 million families across the country, which has been found frequent foreign travelers and spending huge amounts on their utilities and other functions. These two schemes would allow such rich to legalize their hidden assets after paying Rs 40,000 and get themselves register as taxpayers.
Sources said that government has taken this decision of tabling schemes in the parliament was taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ahsraf during his visit to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Thursday. Sources said Prime Minister appreciated the schemes and directed to table in the parliament in the coming session.
Chairman FBR Ali Arshad Hakeem apprised the Prime Minister about various proposals presently under consideration to broaden the existing tax base, improve tax collection, simplify procedure, strengthen vigilance and facilitate the taxpayers.
Expressing his concern over the low tax to GDP ratio in Pakistan which stood at only 9.1 per cent 9.1 per cent, the Prime Minister urged FBR officials to come out with an out of the box solution to broaden the tax base. "Our tax to GDP ratio is lower even by regional standards," observed the Prime Minister. The number of taxpayers has not kept pace with growth of population in the country, he noted.
The PM said that Economy of Pakistan has been under intense pressure because of internal and external factors. Emphasising on the need for generating more taxes, the Prime Minister said that the sovereignty of the country in intrinsically linked to its financial health.
The Prime Minister directed FBR to put extra efforts and intensify its campaign for promoting tax culture in the country. We have to convince the people that "it is beneficial to declare their assets rather than hide them", said the Prime Minister. "The tax system should be judicious and people should not be taxed beyond their burden" he emphasized.
He further said paying government taxes and dues is the duty of every Pakistani and those who pay their dues regularly must be given due respect for discharging their national obligations. Finance Minister, Dr Abul Hafeez Shaikh informed the Prime Minister that due to the economic policies of the govt, inflation had shown marked improvement, which was now below ten percent. He also informed that FBR had managed to collect Rs 350 billion more as compared to previous year.
He further informed that government had managed to make savings as a result of cost controls by spending Rs 186 billion instead of Rs.215 billion. He also informed the Prime Minister that no borrowing was made from the State Bank of Pakistan, instead an amount of Rs 915.4 billion was returned to SBP. The stock exchange Finance Minister said had touched a record high of 15712 points with an average return of 35 per cent per annum.
In response to a proposal made by Chairman FBR for granting of BSP 16 to Customs and Inland Revenue Service inspectors who are presently in BSP 14 to boost their morale, the Prime Minister approved the proposal and directed the concerned authorizes for its prompt implementation. He also assured the Chairman FBR for a sympathetic consideration to a proposal for upgradation of the posts of members of FBR.