Pakistan’s Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen says there was a need to increase tax collection by bringing more people into the tax net but the government would not increase taxes on persons who are already paying them, which the International Monetary Fund wants.
He said that IMF wants Pakistan to impose taxes of Rs700 billion, which he is against doing. He said while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly.
Recently, IMF postponed Pakistan’s debt programme review, which was supposed to take place in June. IMF has dispelled the notion that it was suspending the programme but said that it would want Pakistan to increase its tax collection and also increase electricity prices to increase the country’s revenues.
“The effort is to increase the number of taxpayers instead of imposing more taxes,” he said.
He remarked that an authority should be formed to take action against stubborn big tax defaulters. He said that such tax defaulters were even arrested in other countries.
But he said that FBR will not be able to harass common people. In order to increase the tax net, which means an increasing number of persons, who pay taxes, Tareen wants to involve a third party.
“There are 15 million people who do not pay taxes,” Tareen said.
He added that the government has abolished taxes on many things including milk.
Meanwhile, He said that Rs0.75 will be charged for a phone call lasting more than five minutes. However, there are no taxes on SMS and the internet.
He said that the present government faced current account deficit since it came. He said that the current account deficit was $20 billion while there was another $8 billion trade deficit.
The rupee was artificially kept at low level, which proved detrimental for the economy.
“We had no option but to go to the IMF,” Tareen said. He added that IMF has set strict conditions including increase in electricity and gas prices.