KARACHI - Federal Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, while unveiling the four key points of the next budget that include economic stability, self reliance, reduction of unemployment and inflation and poverty reduction, has announced not to impose any new tax or increase tax rate in the forthcoming budget 2012-2013.

Talking to newsmen at 28th Corporate Excellence Award ceremony of Management Association of Pakistan (MAP) here on Tuesday, the minister said that the government is trying to further simplify tax collection system and reduce interaction between the FBR and tax payers to minimize the element of corruption and increase the real tax collection.

“We don’t have any plan to introduce any new tax or increase the current tax rate in the next fiscal year budget”, he said. However, he said, public problems can be resolved only through raise in the tax collection. Therefore, he said, some measurers will be taken to broaden the tax net.

He said that with the efforts of present government, the country has come out from crisis and now the economic stability is the more important than any thing.

Talking about the main features of the next budget, Dr Hafeez said major issues like economic stability and unemployment will be addressed in the next budget.

“Economic stability is the government’s first priority and it’s also the key point of next fiscal year budget 2012-2013, while self reliance is also on priority”, he added.

Reduction in unemployment and inflation will be third key agenda of the forthcoming budget, while poverty reduction through different schemes like income support fund is the fourth key point of the budget.

Government is taking several measurers to reduce unemployment in the country and several new resources will be created for job opportunities in the country, he added. “We had allocated some Rs 50 billion under income support fund in the current fiscal year budget to support the poor masses and this year as well we are allocating a healthy amount to reduce the poverty”, he said and added with this allocation health insurance, soft loan and cash support will be provided to poor families.

Some steps are under consideration to broaden the tax net and under these considerations wealthy people will be brought in tax net in the coming budget, however government will try not to further increase the tax burden on the existing honest tax payers.

He said increase in tax revenue will enable the government to reduce its borrowing besides undertaking new development schemes like dams, improve infrastructure etc.

Earlier, addressing the ceremony, Dr Hafeez said that sales tax refund system has centralized and now it is presenting excellent performance. During 2009-2010 some 22 thousands worth Rs 25 billion cheques were distributed while, after automation some 55 thousands amounting over Rs 50 billion were issued in fiscal year 2010-2011. The government has already taken several bold steps to enlarge tax net and five zero rated powerful sectors have also taken into the tax net by imposing tax on their local sales.

Dr Hafeez said that tax collection is gradually improving. Several irregularities are being identified in the tax collection and recently FBR has collected Rs 4 billion from those who tried to evade input tax, he revealed.

The government is also focusing and facilitating the private sector, which can play a vital role in the development of the country, he said and added that economy is gradually improving and during last year the country has achieved 23 billion dollars export level, while average monthly remittances has crossed one billion mark. Government is also giving autonomy to the different institutions and now there is not interference in the monetary policy and SBP itself is taking decision on the key policy rate, he pointed out.

Kamal A Chinoy, president MAP, Syed Masood Hashmi, Ms Saadia Naveed and Sarfraz A Rehman also spoke on the occasion. Hafeez also distributed trophies, awards and certificate among the outstanding corporate entities on their financial and management performances.