KARACHI: Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan revealed on Tuesday government’s plans of borrowing from international markets in the next three months and providing relief to the salaried class in the forthcoming federal budget.
He was addressing exporters of value-added apparel sector in a meeting held at the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) House in Karachi, according to a press release.
Khan said the government is also contemplating an amnesty scheme for overseas Pakistanis to allow them to declare their assets, along with plans of clearing textile refunds and reducing the corporate tax rate.
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“The country has to pay $3 billion before June against foreign debt for which fresh soft borrowings shall be made at the lowest possible rates,” Khan said.
“The government will announce an amnesty scheme for overseas Pakistanis by mid-March to compel them to declare their assets,” he added.
The government is also considering enhancing the tax slab for existing business and salaried class from the existing Rs400,000 to Rs800,000 per year and reducing corporate tax rate from 30% to 20% in order to enhance the tax base, he revealed. “The revenue shortfall shall be covered up by bringing new taxpayers into the tax net.”
He further said that revenue collection has remarkably increased by 20%, resulting in an enlarged development portfolio, with provinces receiving bigger shares. “We intend to leave behind a good foreign exchange reserves position so that the caretaker and the next federal government do not face problems in coming years. Economic indicators, including inflow of foreign direct investment, have also improved,” he said.
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“The government is aware of the difficulties faced by exporters and is taking all possible steps to facilitate them,” the minister remarked.
“A major chunk of the approximately Rs160 billion refund claims of exporters shall be cleared, which would have a positive impact on exports,” Khan said. He was of the view that the government should meet sector-specific associations to learn about their problems and issues rather than relying on trade bodies which claim to represent the entire business community.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2018.
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