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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on Friday conveyed to the beverage industry that any tax-related decision on beverages in budget (2021-22) would be taken keeping into account health of the general public.

The federal minister chaired a meeting through video link with the representatives of beverage industry of Pakistan. The delegation briefly presented the progress made by the beverage industry of Pakistan during the last eight to nine years. They also discussed the role of beverage industry in revenue and employment generation, and the change in local and global business scenarios after the onset of the Covid-19.

The delegation also submitted their proposals for the upcoming budget. The finance minister said although he is supportive of adopting all those measures that can boost the industrial development, generate employment and help in expansion of businesses; any decision, regarding the taxation/ relief provided to any industry which has direct linkages with general well being and health of the public, will be taken after a careful analysis of all the facts and arguments. When contacted, a tax expert informed that the proposal under consideration is to reduce the rate of the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on sugary drinks from 13 percent to 12 percent.

Two years ago, the rate of the FED on sugary drinks was increased from 11.5 percent to 13 percent. If the government cut the FED on beverages from 13 to 12 percent, it would reduce government revenue by Rs 6-7 billion per annum.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021