Committee to identify imported items for taxation

ISLAMABAD - A high level committee has been appointed to examine and identify various imported items to be taxed to discourage non essential imports.

By (From our correspondent)

Published: Fri 8 Aug 2008, 12:01 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:50 AM

“We need to reduce non essential imports for which a committee having secretaries finance, commerce, industries and production and food and agriculture is examining different proposals to deal with the issue of unnecessary imports,” the new chairman of Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) Ahmad Waqar told this correspondent.

He said that the committee has been appointed in the light of the new trade policy to address the issue of rising imports due to which Pakistan’s import bill has risen many fold.

However, he said that while luxury goods were likely to be further taxed, the import of essential items like palm oil, wheat, pluses etc. will continue under normal taxation currently being followed by the FBR.

"But why should we import items like milk, cheese, butter, margarines etc," the chairman FBR asked adding that the objective should be to restrict the declining foreign exchange reserves by discouraging unnecessary imports.

Responding to a question, the chairman FBR said that there was no plan to revise downward tax collection target of Rs1.25 trillion during the current financial year. He said although collection of over 20 per cent increased taxes was a challenging target, it will be achieved by further improving the system.

He said that tax-to-GDP ratio was being increased by bringing more number of tax payers in the formal tax net. He was of the view that the existing number about of 2.2 million tax payers should be increased through the expansion of income tax and sales tax regime. These two taxes would be the future taxes and have a good scope to help provide adequate revenue to the government, he added.

The chairman FBR said that revenue collection target set for the month of July has acceded to Rs66 billion against the target of Rs64.4 billion. Likewise, he said that FBR collected Rs50 billion in June which was quite satisfactory. “Therefore I am sure we will achieve our annual collection target”, he added.

This target would be achieved without harassing the taxpayers and by minimising leackages, he added.

Responding to a question, he said ever since he took over he was concentrating on removing corruption from the organisation. Waqar said that there was a huge potential to enhance the country’s revenue which needed to be explored.

“There are some grey areas like corruption and the weak taxation system and once they are fully taken care of the government would start receiving additional revenues.”

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