ISLAMABAD: The government’s top economic troubleshooter Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has failed to win support of former prime minister and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif for the reformed General Sales Tax Bill-2010.
Sharif says this will happen only if the government ensures good governance, ends corruption and tax evasion and reduces the size of the federal cabinet. However, he has accepted Dr Sheikh’s request to attend a comprehensive presentation on the issue from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
This transpired in a meeting between an economic team of the government, headed by Dr Hafeez, and the Sharif brothers on Friday in Lahore, sources told daily Express newspaper.
In order to quash misperceptions about reformed GST, Dr Sheikh requested the Sharif brothers to attend a detailed briefing on the issue from the FBR. And the elder Sharif agreed to oblige, sources said.
“Sharif is flexible on this new tax issue,” a member of Dr Sheikh’s delegation told Express newspaper requesting anonymity. “If the FBR team manages to remove Sharif’s reservations, his party may support the reformed GST bill in parliament,” he said.
However, sources said that in the meeting Sharif refused to support the reformed GST bill. Instead he called upon the government to ensure good governance, end rampant corruption and “right-size” the federal cabinet.
Sharif promised support to the government on behalf of his party if it takes these steps for the revival of the country’s ailing economy. PML-N spokesperson Siddiqul Farooq refused to comment on the development. “I’m not aware of any meeting between the Sharif brothers and the federal finance minister,” Farooq told The Express Tribune when contacted on phone.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2010.