No new tax to be imposed for IMF bailout package: Ishaq Dar

ISLAMABAD: Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar made it clear on Thursday that the government would neither make any compromise nor impose any new tax to avail itself of the IMF bailout package. Responding to the points raised by the opposition members during their speeches on the Finance Bill, 2013 in the National Assembly, Ishaq Dar said the government had already rejected the IMF condition for imposition of more taxes. “Even if the IMF does not give us a loan, we will not impose new taxes but demonstrate that we can achieve the revenue collection targets,” he said. Dar categorically told the House that the government would achieve the Rs2,475 billion revenue collection target by enhancing the tax net without imposing any new tax. “Programme or no programme with the IMF, we will not impose any new tax and have rejected would be in the interest of Pakistan and no condition against national interest would be acceptable. “Tax collection target is a ‘tall order’, but we shall achieve it by increasing tax net and stopping tax theft,” he said, adding that the government had also increased the fine amount and imprisonment period for tax evaders. He also clarified that the government had not introduced any mini-budget and said the proposals in the bill were not passed as it is because its final shape was created after inclusion of members’ recommendations as well as those coming from the Senate.He said at present the tax collection rate was even lesser than the inflation rate and this was the failure of the economic policies of the previous government. The minister said the government honoured the SC decision on collection of GST from June 13. But this tax, he said, still collected from the consumers was not coming to the national kitty. He also rejected the notion that the increase of one percent had resulted in four to five percent additional tax collection. Dar clarified that the perks and privileges of the NA speakers and the Senate chairmen as well as the members were being adjusted to the same level as were before 2010 and 2012 respectively. Dar said no new tax had been imposed on the pilgrims saying that it was introduced by the PPP government last year on operators. “We are increasing this from Rs2500 to Rs3500 and there will be no burden on the pilgrims,” he said. He asked the opposition not to do politics and stop playing to the gallery on the budget. “The country is in a serious financial crisis; we need not play politics,” he said. He also clarified that a number of kitchen items were already exempted from tax to facilitate the poor in the country. Ishaq Dar said in the budget proposal the rebate on income tax for educationists had been brought down from 75% to zero but on a proposal from opposition the rebate was taken to 40%.. (Courtesy: The News)