Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Wednesday reiterated that their government is seeking to tax only the rich even as he acknowledged that the government will be expanding tax measures to enhance revenues while taking measures to keep prices of essential commodities low.
“During PTI regime, there was heavy taxation on consumption which impacted the poor disproportionately,” Miftah said while addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday.
“We are taxing the rich, 1% tax will be increased on people whose annual income is over Rs150 million, and 2% more taxes for those with an income of Rs200 million or more and 3% on those earning over Rs250 million.”
The minister said those with an income of over Rs300m will have to pay 4% more in income taxes.
“We have also imposed some super taxes, details of which I will provide tomorrow. Most taxes have been imposed on sugar,” he said adding that the companies owned by the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s family will also be impacted by this tax.
He claimed that the government imposed taxes which impacted the ruling elite.
“It will increase the tax burden of companies owned by the PM. My company’s tax burden will also increase by Rs200 million and Rs250 million,” said Miftah.
Courage for tough measures
Pointing a fat finger of blame at his predecessors, the finance minister blamed former prime minister Imran Khan for a record budget deficit.
“During the past four years of Imran Khan’s regime, the budget deficit was at a record high,” he said.
His statement came on the back of the reports that the International Monetary Fund had asked the government to roll-back the income tax relief that the government had announced for the salaried class in its budgetary proposals for the fiscal year 2022-23.
When Imran Khan came, the external debt was Rs25 trillion and when left, it had swelled to Rs45 trillion, he stated.
“How can you talk about self-sufficiency when you are asking for loans wherever you go?” asked Miftah.
“Real independence would come when you will not have to take loans,” he scoffed.
“Before the no-confidence motion, Imran Khan’s government used to charge Rs20 as levy and 10% sales tax on petroleum.”
“You suddenly started thinking about the poor when you were faced with a no-confidence motion and had brought your country to the brink of bankruptcy. You were turning Pakistan into Sri Lanka,” he accused.
Talking about loan from Chinese commercial banks, Miftah said that the Chinese banks have signed the loan agreement and Pakistan is expected to receive the money by tomorrow or maximum by Monday.
China, he said, has also decided re-roll the safe deposits which it had kept with the State Bank of Pakistan and were due to expire in June.
“They have done it on their own,” he stated, adding that the news had had a positive impact on the price of the US dollar in the interbank on Thursday.
Miftah also pointed to the measures taken by the government to control prices of essential goods such as ghee, claiming that the commodity was being sold for around Rs300 which had shot up to Rs550 earlier.