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ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance, Revenue, and Power Division, Ali Pervaiz Malik, said on Sunday that the upcoming budget aims to protect the salaried class, especially those in the lower income bracket, as much as possible.

While talking to a private news channel, he emphasized the government’s priority to shield the middle and lower classes in the budget of 2024.

According to the prime minister’s directives, efforts will be made to reduce the taxation burden on these groups.

Salaries of Punjab govt employees to be increased: minister

Malik highlighted several key initiatives of the government, including the fact that those using less than 200 units of electricity will be exempted from the power tax.

He further said that there will be an increased allocation of resources within the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for the needy.

“We must decide which segment to protect, which to document, and where to implement taxation measures. Each section of society should contribute fairly according to its share,” he added.

Highlighting the key steps, he said that the government aims to maximize tax collection.

Last year, and continuing into this financial year, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has seen a revenue increase of 30%, he said.

He said that there will be efforts to bring all forms of income under the tax net, ensuring no exemptionsm, adding expanding the tax base was the top priority of the government.

There will be a crackdown on tax evaders, leveraging lifestyle data to enforce compliance, he said.

The minister said that severe penalties will be imposed for tax non-compliance, and measures will be taken to prevent individuals from becoming non-filers after a single transaction.

Malik also emphasized the need for a national fiscal pact, urging provinces to take responsibility for revenue collection and expenditure reduction.

He noted that the federal government currently bears the brunt of all expenditures, and it was imperative for provinces to contribute to this effort.

Additionally, Malik criticized the previous government under Imran Khan for damaging Pakistan’s relationship with the IMF.

He said that the Imran government had torpedoed Pakistan’s relationship with the IMF by providing unfunded fuel subsidies.

“Sowing the seeds of mistrust between the IMF and Pakistan was the foundation of the Imran government,” he said.

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