ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue meeting, chaired by Senator Saleem Mandviwalla has finalised the recommendations on the Finance Bill, 2023, including a five percent radio fee in the annual vehicle registration fee to curb the financial crunch of Radio Pakistan.

During the committee meeting held on Thursday, Senator Irfan Siddiqui apprised that the employees of Radio Pakistan have not been paid for the past three months and proposed a five percent radio fee in the annual vehicle registration fee to curb the financial crunch of Radio Pakistan.

He also suggested that the PTV fee which is being charged to consumers in electricity bills should be enhanced from 35 to 50 rupees and the additional amount should be given to Radio Pakistan. The Senate committee acknowledged the proposal and referred it to the Finance Ministry for consideration. However, Senator Saadia Abbasi rejected the proposal.

Senator Engr Rukhsana Zuberi suggested that freelancers should be given an exemption in retaining their revenue.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar stated that the annual budget allowed freelancers to retain 35 per cent of their revenue. Besides, freelancers earning 2,000 dollars are exempted from sales tax and they could also procure duty-free hardware, he added.

He maintained that in the current fiscal year, a return of 2.5 billion dollars is expected from the IT industry and the number would reach 4.5 billion dollars by next year and the exemptions have been given keeping in view, the potential growth of the IT industry.

Senator Taj Haider proposed that the tariff on tennis, badminton racket and other sports equipment should be exempted. Federal Minister for Revenue and Finance stated that fixation of the tariff is the prerogative of the Commerce Ministry and the recommendation has been forwarded. Senator Zeeshan Khanzada highlighted the issues confronted by the industry in LC’s opening and inquired as to what steps have been taken by the ministry for the repression of illegal border trade.

Senator Dar reiterated that the import restrictions were imposed to curb the massive inflows. He stated that the external debt of the country has reached from 70 billion dollars to 100 billion dollars in the PTI regime which was clearly an outcome of financial indiscipline.

He remarked that the expenditure bill should be made by keeping in view the external debt.

Federal Minister for Revenue maintained that import restrictions would be uplifted by 30th June.

As far as the prevention of illegal border trade is concerned, Senator Dar stated that coordination between intelligence agencies and the FBR occupies vital importance and deliberations with concerned authorities have also been conducted in this regard.

Moreover, Senator Kauda Babar highlighted the economic potential of Gwadar and demanded that Gwadar should be declared a Special Economic District and exemptions should be given to locals on the same footing as it has been provided to the Chinese. Senator Dar stated that the ministry will deliberate on the matter and inform the standing committee afterwards.

In addition to that, Senator Mian Abdul Qadir said that the final tax of 7.5 per cent on construction companies has been changed into an initial tax with an increase of one percent. Besides that, an assessment will also be conducted on payments, he added. Senator Mian Abdul Qadir suggested that the current 8.5 per cent tax should be charged as the final tax not as an initial tax. The Senate Committee directed the ministry to look into the matter.

Furthermore, representatives of auto spare parts and the Fata Steel Mills Association have also submitted their proposals for a reduction in sales taxes and customs duty.

The senate committee forwarded the proposals to the Finance Ministry for consideration. The meeting was attended by senators Saadia Abbasi, Dilawar Khan, Kamil Ali Agha, Zeeshan Khanzada, Taj Haider, Engr Rukhsana Zuberi, Irfan Siddiqui, Kauda Babar, and Mian Abdul Qadir.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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