A parliamentary panel on finance and revenue has unanimously elected Khawaja Sohail Mansur of MQM as its new chairman, who was the top taxpayer of the country two years ago.
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue met here on Thursday to choose a new head of parliament’s most important panel, with responsibility to monitor affairs of the finance ministry, Planning Commission and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
The position of the chairperson fell vacant after the death of Fauzia Wahab of PPP, who headed the committee for over four years. In the meeting, the members of the committee paid glowing tribute to late Fauzia Wahab.
“I do not want to disclose the exact amount of tax I pay due to security concerns,” said Mansur while talking to The Express Tribune. He said in the last fiscal year his younger brother Khawaja Rehan would be the top taxpayer in the individual taxpayer category.
From this fiscal year, parliament has approved special treatment for the top taxpayers in a bid to encourage people to meet their tax liabilities. The country’s tax-to-GDP ratio has dropped below 10%, one of the lowest in the region.
Mansur, a leading industrialist and businessman, said his priority would be to guide the finance ministry how to correct the deteriorating economic situation. He vowed that he would improve the business environment by eliminating smuggling, under-invoicing, damages caused by transit trade and broadening of tax base with removal of hardships faced by the taxpayers.
He sought first briefing from the FBR on issues of under-invoicing, smuggling and transit trade.
Terming the current economic situation worst, Mansur said many things and areas could be improved with not much effort and the committee would provide its input and support to the economic managers to help them overcome the economic challenges.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.