ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has sought final schedule for the implementation of the privatisation of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

While presiding over a high-level meeting on privatisation of the PIA and restructuring of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the prime minister directed that the Ministry of Privatisation should present the schedule of PIA’s privatisation in the next two days after taking the necessary steps. He further stated that no laziness and carelessness would be tolerated in this regard.

The premier also directed that transparency should be ensured at all stages. The meeting reviewed the proposals regarding automation of the FBR, transparency in the system, structural reforms in line with global standards, and increase in tax through incentives, elimination of corruption and smuggling, as well as, separation of Inland Revenue and Customs departments and tax rates.

The premier, while giving in-principle approval of the proposed roadmap of the FBR automation system, directed that now this roadmap should be implemented with a clear time frame. He also directed that the targets should not only be realistic but their implementation should also be fastest in the region.

He underlined the need to work round the clock to achieve this goal as it is a must for a bright future of the country and revival of economy.

Shehbaz Sharif directed the Ministry of Law to immediately submit recommendations for the resolution of pending cases and legal disputes in the courts related to taxes so that the hurdles in the way of realisation of Rs1.7 trillion in the national kitty could be removed.

The prime minister also directed the Ministry of Law to submit proposals regarding the establishment of legal department in the FBR, making the drafting in accordance with the law and hiring the services of lawyers.

The prime minister said that six to seven per cent GDP growth is possible only as a result of the implementation of the reforms, adding that there is a need to invest to modernise revenue and tax system. He said that the government wants to introduce an incentive-based tax system, and reduce the tax burden, but the business community also has to play its role in the development and social service of the people.

He said that there is also a need to have an effective third-party audit system while emphasising that there are systems in the world by adopting them the country’s system can be improved. He further stated that exemptions given on all taxes should be thoroughly checked. He added that if SMEs had been developed, Pakistan would not have lagged behind the developed countries.

He deplored that small and medium scale industries have been ignored in 40 years and now this sector has to be promoted. Former caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar gave a comprehensive briefing on FBR’s restructuring, automation, various aspects of deficiencies in revenue acquisition, and future action plans.

Dr Akhtar informed the meeting that the tax-to-GDP in Pakistan is less than 9.5 per cent compared to the rest of the world. She added that improvement in tax-to-GDP ratio is very important for the development of Pakistan.

Akhtar added that 55.6 per cent do not pay any tax while only 3.3 per cent pay tax. She told the meeting that only 0.2 million people pay 90 per cent tax, whereas, Rs1.7 trillion is stuck due to legal process.

She also gave an overview on the establishment of the FBR Policy Board, restructuring the Customs Department on the pattern of other countries in the world and legal and regulatory framework.

At the beginning of the meeting, the prime minister welcomed Dr Shamshad Akhtar. The prime minister said that it is a fact that Senator Ishaq Dar had laid a solid foundation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to which progress was made possible later in this matter.

The prime minister paid tribute to Dr Shamshad Akhtar, describing her presentation as comprehensive. The meeting was attended by Senator Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Asif, Atta Tarar, Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, Musadik Malik, Ahad Cheema, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Ali Parvez Malik, besides Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Jehanzeb, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Chairman FBR, Secretary Privatization, and other senior officials while banker Muhammad Aurangzeb participated in the meeting through video link.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Usman Mar 07, 2024 07:57am
Pia and steel mills sell them even on 1 ruppe atleast we don't need to pay the liabilities.
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Haseeb uddin Azam Toor Mar 07, 2024 08:13am
If he had been sincere with pakistan, h would have saved PIA and sold his ITTEFAQ SUGAR MILL.
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Danish Ahmad Mar 07, 2024 09:28am
Either Pakistan or WAPDA, Railway, Steel Mill or PIA. These white elephants are posing existential financial threat to the country and should be privatized on war footing basis. Do Hurry to save Pak.
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Tariq Qurashi Mar 07, 2024 11:56am
The government has no business running commercial enterprises, and they need to privatize all SOE as soon as possible because these organizations are hemorrhaging funds-or just shut them down.
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Test Mar 07, 2024 06:53pm
@Danish Ahmad, how much we will privatize next PSO is defaulting it is mismanagement of things should not privatize our institutions. PIA can be run if we put efforts in it
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Test Mar 07, 2024 06:54pm
@Tariq Qurashi, we cannot shut they have employees they need to pay salary to these empoyees
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