ISLAMABAD-The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested some reforms to the Government of Pakistan for obtaining its revenue targets. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, has stated this in National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue. He informed the committee about the salient features of Reforms initiatives adopted by the Federal Board of Revenue and its way forward for improvement of taxation system in the country. 

He said that, He was of the firm view that Automation system and Digitalisation process will minimise the interaction between taxpayers and tax collectors. He also elaborated the functional and organisation restructuring including improvement in human resources, policy management, integrity management and reducing withholding tax and expenditure scope. 

The members of the committee have expressed their apprehensions regarding delay in outcome of the reforms. They were of the opinion that a time line in this respect must be defined. 

National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held in Parliament House, under the chairmanship of MNA Mr. Faiz Ullah.

The Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue briefed the committee about the details of reform’s framework and its expected results. He said that Federal Board has decided to implement the weeding out deadwood through early retirement rules, dismissal corrupt staff through efficiency and discipline rules. He further stated that FBR was focusing on alternate dispute resolution mechanism for smooth functioning of the business. Member Custom, FBR informed that FBR has taken necessary measures for trade facilitation through operational activities.

The committee discussed the Pakistan Single Window (PSW) Bill, 2020 (Government Bill). Project Director briefed the committee about the requirement of this legislation. He said that PSW is a facility which will allow the parties involved in Trade and Transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all imports, exports and transit related regularity needs. 

He also apprised the committee that PSW was finalized with consensus of the stakeholders while providing legal basis for the approved functional, operational, governance and revenue model. He added that PSW will help to unlock Pakistan’s potential as the regional hub and trade & transit by simplifying harmonizing and automating regularity controls. After detailed discussion, the committee unanimously recommended that the said Bill may be passed by the National Assembly as reported by the committee.

Member Federal Board of Revenue Dr. Muhammad Ishfaq informed the committee about the updated status with regard to Income Tax and Sales Tax Refunds. The stakeholders were also present in the meeting. They expressed their concerns on the problems being faced by the Exporters due to FASTER SYSTEM and its technical issues. The committee expressed its grave concern about the long time pending claims of Income Tax since 2007 to 2019 and directed to Federal Board of Revenue for preparing a comprehensive briefing in this respect. Dr. Muhammad Ishfaq briefed the committee about the measures taken by the FBR for resolving of problems and way forward. The committee recommended that Federal Board of Revenue may arrange a meeting with stakeholder/exporters in this regard.

The meeting was attended by MNAs, Syed Sami-ul-Hassan Gillani, Mr. Jamil Ahmed Khan, Mr. Sadaqat Ali Khan Abbasi, Mr. Amjad Ali Khan, Mr. Faheem Khan, Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Chaudhary Khalid Javed, Mr. Muhammad Israr Tareen, Mr. Ali Perviz, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar and Mr. Abdul Wasay. The meeting was also attended by the senior officers from Ministry of Finance and Revenue, Law and Justice, Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan and Financial Monitoring Unit.