ISLAMABAD The Federal Cabinet on Wednesday accorded approval to the flood tax and Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) Bill and to be presented in the current session of the National Assembly. However, many economic analysts believe that it would trigger a tsunami of price hike and inflation in the country. The bill will be tabled in the current session of National Assembly, said Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh while addressing a press conference here. He was flanked by Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira and Minister for Interior Rehman Malik. To a question, Hafeez said that a salient feature of the Reformed-General Sales Tax (R-GST) is that there will be a uniform sales tax rate of 15 per cent instead of the rates ranging from 17 to 26 per cent. He said that the measures are designed to broaden the tax base by bringing the exempted sectors in the tax net and charging all income groups at a rate of 10 per cent of their payable liability. Explaining about the bill, the Minister said that after the approval the RGST would be implemented from January 2011 and may fetch in Rs30 billion in the remaining six months of the current fiscal year. He further said that the Cabinet also approved the flood surcharge to be imposed for six months from January 2011 on the persons having income more than Rs 30,0000. He said that a person earning Rs 25,000 per month will pay additional Rs 30 per month tax and a company earning Rs 10 billion annually will pay additional Rs 170 million in six months. He said that the government has decided to levy one-time flood surcharge at the rate of 10 per cent of the payable tax on all income groups that will generate Rs28 billion in six months. He further said that the incumbent government also doubled the rate of Federal Excise Duty on all non-essential and luxury imports. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira dispelled the impression that the bill was being passed by the Parliament without evolving a consensus among the provinces. He was of the view that the introduction of the bill would help the country in putting its economy on the path of self-reliance by broadening the tax base. He said that the cabinet also discussed the issue of availability of sugar in the country. The stocks of 350,000 metric tons of sugar available with TCP will be sent in the open market. It was also discussed to move against millers and wholesalers allegedly hoarding sugar in anticipation to earn more profits, he added. Rehman Malik said that his agencies would now be on a hunt for hoarders and millers in the provinces would be pushed for starting the crushing operations. It would not be out of place to mention here that MQM ministers expressed reservations on the bill. Agencies add: The IMF has linked Pakistans next tranche of aid to the approval of the RGST bill in the federal and provincial assemblies before November 13. The IMF insists that it will not accept a piecemeal approach or anything except a universal RGST regime. Earlier this month, Pakistan assured international donors that five bills will be presented in federal and provincial assemblies in their current sessions to seek approval for the tax. The plan to get the bill passed, though, has been slowed down by provinces refusal to budge from their stated positions regarding revenues collected from import, export and ports related services. Punjab wants revenues to be allocated on the basis of origin of services while Sindh argues that revenues should be authorised to the province where it is collected.