Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar informed the Senate Standing Committee on Finance that the government is bringing a workable plan to effectively tackle the issue of non-filers under which non-filers may be barred from seeking commercial and industrial electricity connections.
“We will stop non-filers from evading tax under the plan. The plan would ensure to bring non-filers into the tax net. Overseas Pakistanis and pensioners should be given exemption from the condition of being filers,” he added.
Senator Haroon Akhtar wanted to know from the minister about the government’s vision because there is nothing in the mini-budget about the current account deficit and exports while huge cut in development outlay will impact the growth prospects. He added that the proposed tax measures will narrow down the tax base instead of broadening it.
The state minister for revenue stated that one percent duty on 34 tariff lines was reduced to increase the growth in exports. He responded to the criticism by saying that the previous government has not taken any structural reforms and heavily relied on borrowing-led growth. The previous government’s policies increased the current account deficit to $18 billion during the last fiscal year.
About the reversing of two major tax reforms related to not allowing non-filers to purchase properties and new vehicles, the minister said that the last budget presented by the previous government was highly irresponsible and new government has to take some corrective measures to make it realistic and workable. The growth was led by deficit financing and everything was done through book balancing without any economic management. The borrowing increased the debt to GDP ratio from 60 percent of the GDP to 73 percent of the GDP, he said.
He said that an incentive has been provided to the exporters in the budget to revive 200 textile units which were closed due to the policies of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government and they are made functional. The revival of these units will increase exports and provide employment opportunities.