ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Saturday issued instructions for formation of special committee to suggest ways and means for ease of doing business, trade and investment in country.
“If we want to enhance business activity, generate more revenue for the national exchequer, we must take measures to enhance ease of doing business and promote value addition”, the Minister remarked while addressing a meeting of the Tax Advisory Council at the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Saturday.
He said there will be across the board representation in this committee, Ministry of Commerce, FBR, Board of Investment (BOI), all relevant departments shall be included in it.
The Minister on the occasion gave a brief overview of the state of economy, saying that it had gained stability owing to strong financial discipline enforced by the government and the concerted economic reforms.
Enhancement of tax net, he said was important to generate more revenue and strengthen the economy.
“We established the Tax Advisory Council last year to give us good suggestions, which remained useful and this year again we take up the budget exercise, we look up to this council to come up with useful proposals to improve revenue collection”, the Minister added.
He said that streamlining the SRO regime was being undertaken as a priority and it would help to promote the tax culture.
The Minister also announced publication of the second parliamentary tax directory on April 10, which he said was a healthy tradition set by the present government.
The Chairman FBR, Tariq Bajwa in his remarks said that members of the Tax Advisory Council were specifically asked to put forth suggestions on three areas namely, expansion of tax base, ease of doing business and enhancing tax revenue.
He said that FBR took up the exercise to expand the tax net, issued notices to 170,000 prospective tax payers and provisional assessment of 44,000 individuals was also carried out.
He also apprised the meeting that revenue collection during July-February of 2014-15 reached Rs 1538 billion compared to Rs 1360 billion in the same period last fiscal year, thus showing 13 percent growth despite plunge in sales tax due to cut in oil prices.
Members of the Council while giving their views on enhancing tax revenue and broadening tax base agreed with the Finance Minister that it was pertinent to ensure ease of doing business.
They added that such strategies would have positive impact on business activities, trade and investment thus leading to better revenue generation.
They emphasized that simplifying procedures for filing tax returns saying that for a large number of small scale businessmen and traders, filing of returns was a tedious proposition.
They also called for stringent measures to curb smuggling of goods which could lead to a surge in revenue. The members opined that a policy of both marketing and motivation would yield better results for promoting tax culture.
They lauded the ongoing operation Zarb e Azb, which they said would help eliminate the scourge of militancy, ultimately leading to security and stability which were necessary for having a healthy business and trade environment.
Later talking to media, the Minister added that the Advisory Council meeting was a useful exercise to assimilate useful ideas on revenue collection before the budget making exercise was undertaken with full zeal.
Whatever good advice we can get from the participants, would serve as a guide for us, the Minister remarked. He said the members already had detailed deliberations and “we are hopeful of a good outcome of this meeting”.