Government vows to bring ‘tax-free’ budget

Published: March 23, 2018
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PHOTO: BOUNDLESS/FILE

PHOTO: BOUNDLESS/FILE

LAHORE: Punjab Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha said the next fiscal budget for 2018-19 would be free of new taxes. However, she added that the expansion of the existing tax net would remain on the agenda of the provincial government, besides focusing on social sector development projects.

Chairing the maiden meeting of the resource mobilisation committee for the Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget, the minister said the outlay would also focus on the development of Punjab. She added the selection of development projects would be made based on output and facilitate agriculture and export promotion.

She said the Punjab government focused on comprehensive taxation reforms for collection of tax and non-tax revenues in order to increase the indigenous resources of the province.

Dr Pasha said the government was working to introduce online tax collection procedures in order to minimise tax evasion and to increase direct interaction with taxpayers.

“An application is being developed to bring all tax collection on a single platform to facilitate the taxpayers and end the hassle of the various offices to pay the taxes,” she said. “To implement the same, the Punjab government recently launched a business portal through which the registration process could be completed without visiting any government office.”

The minister informed the meeting that all Punjab revenue collection agencies are achieving their targets of tax collection as a result of the reforms introduced through resource mobilisation committee recommendations. Besides, it has also been promoting a positive tax culture in Punjab, she added.

Minister for Commerce and Industry Sheikh Alauddin stressed on the need of local collection of vehicle tokens and highlighted the reduction in revenue collection on luxury vehicles.

He suggested the tax should be levied on the manufacturer’s invoice, not on that of the dealer’s, in order to plug leakages. The PRA and Excise and Taxation departments updated the meeting about revenue collection and presented their proposal for the next fiscal year. Besides, the representatives of other departments presented the status of their non-tax revenue collection.

Withholding taxes dominate revenue collection

The minister instructed the departments to eradicate irrelevant non-tax revenue collections and accumulate the necessary non-tax revenue to make it part of the online application.

The meeting decided to finalise the implementable revenue mobilisation proposal for the next budget in the upcoming meeting.

The meeting was co-chaired by Minister for Commerce and Industry Sheikh Alauddin and attended by MPAs Haji Ilyas Insari, Abdul Rauf Mughal, Nadia Aziz, Secretary Livestock Naseem Sadiq, Chairman PRA Raheel Ahmed Siddique, DG Excise and Taxation Akram Asharf Gondal, Additional Secretary Budget Rana Ubaid, Deputy Secretary Resources Faiqa and other officials concern of the provincial departments.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2018.

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