Cabinet okays tax amnesty scheme
By Our Staff Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday gave approval to tax Amnesty Scheme. After cabinet’s approval, the new scheme would be implemented through promulgation of a Presidential Ordinance.
Prime Minister Imran Khan presided over a meeting of the cabinet during which it was briefed on the scheme. President Arif Alvi is expected to promulgate the ordinance any time. Quoting sources, the TV channel reported that under the tax amnesty scheme Pakistanis can declare their assets after paying four percent tax. Those living abroad will have to pay six percent tax. Moreover, the cabinet meeting also discussed overall political and economic situation of the country. It was also expected to discuss the $6 billion dollars package finalised with International Monetary Fund.
The members also discussed monthly inflation rate and price control measures for essential commodities, steps taken for improvements in the educational system of the country, counselor policy for the assistance of imprisoned Pakistanis and appointment of judges in special courts of Karachi and Quetta. A summary for extension of Regular Public Transport (RPT), charter, aerial work licence of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was also presented before the cabinet for its approval.
The government sought exemption of equipment donated by narcotics control of China to Pakistan, whereas, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also approved between National School of Public Policy (NSPP) and National Management Institute (NMI) of Egypt.
Another report adds: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh briefed the media on the scheme. He was accompanied at the presser by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan.
Speaking to media persons, the PM’s adviser said people will have the opportunity to become part of the scheme until June 30. Every Pakistani citizen will be able to avail the scheme except for public office holders and their dependents.
He said the “basic purpose” of the scheme was not to generate revenue — as media reports had speculated — but to bring dead assets into the economy and make them functional.
“We have tried to make this scheme very easy to understand and implement,” the adviser said, adding that the scheme has realistic targets with low rates. He said the plan was not to “intimidate” people but to encourage businessmen to participate in the legal economy. The cabinet has given go ahead to the amnesty scheme two days after striking a deal with the Fund amid much criticism by the opposition parties.
The finance adviser defended the deal with the IMF, saying the bailout package favours Pakistan. “Those who are opposing the IMF programme are the ones who had already done the same,” he responded to question. He said actions such as reducing the gap between imports and exports, reducing losses of state-owned entities and curtailing expenditure are in favour of the country.
Govt agrees to hike electricity prices by Rs2.60 after IMF deal
The government has agreed to stepwise increase electricity prices by Rs2.60 per unit after the bailout deal with the IMF, media reported on Tuesday. The hike in rates will provide relief to the national exchequer worth Rs200 billion that are given as subsidy. The prices are scheduled to be surged in two phases which will create a new wave of inflation.
Further details suggest that Rs1.30 per unit are likely to be increased from July 1 in first step, and the same amount again from September 1 in second phase.
The price of one unit of electricity will surge to Rs15.58 from Rs12.98 as per the new tariff. The government has also ensured the IMF to reduce its circular debt, improve distribution and control line losses and electricity theft.v