GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government has put off plans to impose taxes on the people of the region till its assembly formulates a comprehensive tax policy, G-B Finance Minister Mohammad Ali Akhtar said on Tuesday.
“The G-B Assembly will discuss the issue and a comprehensive tax policy will be prepared. Until then no taxes will be imposed on the people of the region,” the finance minister told The Express Tribune by telephone on Tuesday.
Nationalists and opposition parties in the region have opposed the idea of imposing taxes in G-B, pleading that the region has no representation in parliament therefore taxes cannot be levied on people.
‘No taxation without representation’ is the slogan of these parties. However, the present government is considering bringing the region into the ‘tax net’ in an attempt to increase revenues.
Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira recently said that the G-B Assembly would decide whether or not people would be taxed. “There is no decision in this regard at the federal level either,” said the minister, who recently complained that the bureaucracy kept him in the dark about the budget allocation for G-B.
The G-B finance minister said that whatever revenue is generated, the local government will have the right to spend it in the region, adding that the department of excise and taxation works under the provincial set-up.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2010.