Tax reforms commission chief named

Masoud Naqvi will head panel to rationalise tax system.

Our Correspondent September 24, 2014


The federal government has picked Masoud Naqvi – a renowned chartered accountant – to head the Tax Reforms Commission (TRC) that has been announced to rewrite the country’s ailing tax policies. 

Naqvi was given preference over two other distinguished names that were under consideration for the job, according to sources in the Ministry of Finance. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also pondered over the name of Supreme Court Justice Muhammad Ather Saeed who is nearing retirement.

Justice Saeed has remained president of the Income Tax Bar Association and practised taxation laws for 30 years.

The notification for Naqvi’s appointment is expected to be issued soon. Naqvi, a FCA, is the senior partner at KPMG Taseer Hadi and Company and a Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP). Naqvi rendered his services to ICAP as president and was also chief at the Pakistan American Cultural Centre (PACC).

The government was initially considering public finance experts but they had no relevant experience in law application.

In his budget speech, Dar announced to constitute a TRC aimed at rationalising all the taxes in order to make the system more transparent. According to experts, the corporate and individual income tax system was against the principles of fairness. The system lessens the burden on one segment of the society at the expense of the other. Similarly, import tariffs are structured in a manner that protect a few pampered industries and discourage competition and entrance of new players in the market.

Dar had acknowledged the need to carry out an in-depth analysis and review of the tax policies and administration of the country. The minister had also announced that members of the commission will comprise of public finance experts, practitioners, businessmen, tax lawyers and retired civil servants.

Other members of the commission are Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Tariq Bajwa, Member Strategic Planning at FBR Mohammad Nisar (who will act as secretary to the commission), members of chambers of commerce and industries and tax bar associations.

“We will try to finish the job of overhauling the tax laws within the next six months,” said Bajwa.

Ashfaq Tola, another renowned tax expert, has also been appointed as TRC member. Tola has made a comprehensive study to reform the general sales tax system into a single-stage sales tax structure, according to FBR officials. The study has proposed the government to reduce the sales tax rate to approximately 7%.

However, there has been criticism from independent tax experts over the government’s decision to appoint Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and provincial chamber presidents as members of the proposed commission. None of them are experts in the tax field and their inclusion may be a deterrent to point out deficiencies.

The heads of these business bodies are also members of the Tax Advisory Council (TAC) the government had constituted before the presentation of this year’s budget. These influential people tried to get benefits for their own companies instead of giving any policy advice, according to officials privy to the TAC consultations.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2014.

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oBSERVER | 7 years ago | Reply

Thank you PTI & PAT.

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