Prime Minister demands a final schedule for PIA audit

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Photo Express

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has directed to demand a final schedule for the implementation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) restructuring and has instructed that no leniency or negligence will be tolerated while ensuring transparency at one hundred percent. According to details, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, a high-level meeting was held regarding the PIA restructuring and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) restructuring. Senator Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Attaullah Tarar, Rana Mashood, Masood Malik, Ahad Cheema, Shahze Fatima Khawaja, Romaina Khurshid Alam, Ali Parvez Malik, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr. Jehanzeb, Governor State Bank, Chairman FBR, Secretary Airlines, and other high officials attended the meeting while prominent banker Mohammad Orangzeb was also present via video link.

In the beginning of the meeting, Prime Minister expressed gratitude towards Dr. Shamshad Akhtar for his efforts. He said that it is a fact that Senator Ishaq Dar laid a solid foundation with the IMF which made progress possible in this matter. Prime Minister appreciated Dr. Shamshad Akhtar’s presentation and praised him. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif demanded a final schedule for the implementation of PIA restructuring and directed the Ministry of Airlines to present the schedule in the next two days after necessary measures. Prime Minister instructed strictly that no leniency or negligence will be tolerated in this process. He directed that transparency should be ensured at every stage one hundred percent. The meeting discussed the progress made so far in the PIA restructuring and deliberated on the future stages. Additionally, the meeting reviewed the FBR restructuring, automation, ensuring transparency in the system, global standard reforms, increase in tax through concessions, elimination of corruption and smuggling, separating Inland Revenue and Customs areas, and detailed review of proposals for reducing tax rates.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif approved the roadmap for the implementation of the FBR’s automation system and directed that action should be taken on this roadmap with clear timelines. He said that not only objectives should be fact-based but also should be the fastest in terms of implementation speed in the region. He emphasized that we have to achieve this target through continuous hard work twenty-four hours a day. We do not have a moment to waste, and this is a question of Pakistan’s bright future and economic uplift.

The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Law to present immediate recommendations for resolving disputes and inconsistencies in tax collections and revenues in courts so that obstacles to providing 1.7 trillion rupees to the national exchequer can be removed. The Prime Minister also instructed the Ministry of Law to present recommendations for establishing a legal department in FBR, drafting according to the law, and hiring the services of lawyers, and said that the results of reforms in implementation can lead to an increase in national growth rate from 6 to 7 percent.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that we have to invest in modernizing our revenue and tax systems, we want to bring a tax system based on concessions, we want to reduce the burden of tax, but we also have to help the business community in contributing to the progress of the people and social service. Prime Minister said that we have to ensure an effective third-party audit system in all taxes which has been unsuccessful so far. He emphasized that there are closed currency systems in the world that we can adopt to improve. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that thorough investigations should be carried out on all exemptions given on taxes and that if SAES had been promoted, Pakistan would not have lagged behind developed countries in the world today. It is necessary to promote the sector in the future.

Dr. Shamshad Akhtar informed the meeting that the tax-to-GDP ratio in Pakistan is 9.5 percent lower than the global average, which needs to be increased for Pakistan’s development. He also said that 55.6% of individuals do not pay any taxes, and only 3.3% pay taxes. He mentioned that 200,000 people pay 90% of taxes. He revealed that 1.7 trillion rupees of Pakistan is stuck due to legal actions, and proposals were also presented for reforms in the Federal Policy Board, establishing a Customs Department on the lines of other countries, and reforming the legal and regulatory framework. The Federal Policy Board will introduce a long-term tax policy to ensure the continuity of the policy.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister said that we have to invest in modernizing our revenue and tax system, we want to bring a tax system based on concessions, we want to reduce the burden of tax, but we also have to help the business community in contributing to the progress of the people and social service. He said that we have to ensure an effective third-party audit system in all taxes, which has been unsuccessful so far. He emphasized that there are closed currency systems in the world that we can adopt to improve.

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