ISLAMABAD - Undecided about formally summoning the 49th session of National Assembly (NA) due to TMQ chief Tahir-ul-Qadri’s long march falling on same dates (14th January), the PPP government may face severe hardship in sailing the controversial ‘Tax Law (Amendment) Bill 2012’ through the parliament especially in the absence of support from key coalition partners including PML-Q, MQM and Awami National Party (ANP).
Although the government had managed to clear first hurdle after receiving positive signals from the parliamentary panel, yet the numerical strength against the bill will seemingly not allow them to provide an opportunity to millions to whiten their black money within three moths against a nominal one-time charge.
It is to be mentioned here that the government has identified 2.9 million tax-evaders, which would be brought to the tax net by availing the tax amnesty scheme and according to the proposed scheme, the government has fixed a limit up to Rs 5 million for both incomes and assets that can be whitened through these schemes.
When the controversial bill was first hurriedly introduced in the Lower House by Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, the opposition benches (PML-N) had raised slogans of ‘Shame-Shame’, as apparently no room was provided to opposition and even treasury to speak on it. Whereas the coalition partners ANP & MQM expressed their feeling in Senate and Standing Committee on Finance by strongly rejecting the PPP’s idea to amend it.
While the main opposition party (PML-N) confined to shout ‘shame-shame’ on the introduction of the bill in NA, the party legislator Ishaq Dar expressing his feeling has said that discrimination should not be adopted. He had said that even-handed approach should be adopted for all the 2.9 million potential taxpayers.
Other stakeholder having support of 12 FATA MNAs, Munir Orakzai said that they would not support government, as they were still not taken into confidence. “We will not support if they were not taken into confidence,” he added.
According to the bill, ‘Federal Board of Revenue may, in national interest, grant immunity to the person declaring undisclosed incomes from the effect of the aforesaid laws. No such immunity shall be granted where the person declaring undisclosed income is involved in any offence under the Control of Narcotic Substance Act, 1997 and the Anti-terrorism Act, 1997”.
It says, ‘ Any person who does not opt to pay the registration tax required to be paid under the scheme, shall be liable to finalization of provisional assessment and all the provisions of Ordinance shall apply accordingly’, he added.