Govt forms commission to reduce informal economy

It will also review budget proposals, possibility of making FBR autonomous entity

Shahbaz Rana December 02, 2022
Photo: file


The government on Thursday constituted the Reforms and Resource Mobilisation Commission (RRMC) to review budget proposals, reduce the size of informal economy and the possibility to make the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) an autonomous entity.

An eminent tax expert, Ashfaq Tola, an advocate of single-stage sales tax, has been made the chairman of the commission, called RRMC. The chairman will directly work under Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and will have a full-time secretariat in the FBR headquarters, according to a Revenue Division notification.

Tola will have the authority to work on the policy side of taxation, while the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Tariq Pasha’s role will be limited to operational matters.

According to the notification, the commission comprises 11 members, with Tola serving as the chairman. It includes Asif Haroon, Haider Ali Patel, Abdul Qadir Memon, Dr Veqar Ahmed, Saqib Sherazi, Ghanzanfar Bilour, President FPCCI and the President of Pakistan Tax Bar Association.

The FBR chairman and member reforms and modernisation will also be included as members.

Tola, who is a fellow chartered accountant (FCA) and a fellow cost and management accountant (FCMA), has the experience of over 30 years in financial and forensic auditing, tax advisory and corporate structuring.

He has remained a member of technocratic governmental bodies, such as the Tax Reforms Implementation Committee and the Privatisation Commission of Pakistan. He has also served as the Chairman of the Budget Anomaly Committee for three years.

He is an advocate of “Single Stage Sales Tax”, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) opposes.

Nisar Muhammad, former chairman FBR, Dr Muhammad Iqbal, former member income tax and Abdul Hameed Memon, former chief sales tax will serve as subject experts, according to the notification.

It is the second commission that Dar has established in the past eight years, while the report of the previous commission remains unimplemented. Unlike the past, this time, the commission has both short and long term objectives, mainly review and finalisation of the fiscal year 2023-24 taxation measures.

According to the Terms of Reference (TORs), the commission will advise and make recommendations to the finance minister about the existing revenue policies, will evaluate FBR’s data at a macro level, and identify initiatives, measures and policies for resource mobilisation, ease of doing business, and pro-economic growth.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2022.

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