ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar visited FBR on Saturday and presided over a ceremony regarding payment of sales tax refunds.

It may be mentioned that the finance minister, in the budget speech for the year 2017-18, had announced that taxpayers’ longstanding demand for payment of refunds would be addressed soon and the sales tax refunds against refund payment orders (RPOs) issued up to 30th April, 2017, would be paid in two stages. Firstly, payments against RPOs involving amount up to Rs 1 million were to be paid by 15th July, 2017; and in the second stage refund against RPOs of amount more than Rs 1 million would be paid by 14th August, 2017.

In his opening remarks, the finance minister welcomed the new Chairman FBR Tariq Mahmood Pasha and expressed hope that the new FBR chairman and his team will strive to overcome the challenges and make all efforts to achieve the target for the new financial year and simultaneously accord due priority to facilitation of taxpayers.

The finance minister stated that the government was conscious of the problems being faced by the taxpayers and is taking a number of steps to resolve these problems. He stated that the ceremony was part of such measures and through this, first part of the commitment made in the budget speech is being fulfilled. The payment is being made against 6853 RPOs issued by 30th April 2017, of amount up to Rs. 1 million. The next part of commitment shall also be fulfilled by making payment against RPOs with amount more than Rs. 1 million by 14th August 2017.

The finance minister informed that for the first time refund payments were made by direct electronic transfer to claimants’ bank accounts through state Bank in November 2016. The payments made in the ceremony will also be transferred in the same manner to the claimants’ accounts in the next two working days. This measure, he said, is aimed at enhancing transparency and facilitation and reducing contact between tax collectors and the taxpayers.

In the concluding part of the ceremony, the finance minister pressed the button of FBR’s Computerized System to remit the bank advice to the State Bank for transfer of the amount involved.

Services of outgoing SBP

governor lauded

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar Saturday lauded Ashraf Wathra, the outgoing governor of SBP), for his services for the central bank.

During a meeting with Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, who paid farewell call on Finance Minister, Dar congratulated him on the successful completion of his tenure. The minister said that Ashraf Wathra remained committed to his work throughout his tenure and contributed significantly to smooth implementation of monetary policy and regulation of the money market. He praised the outgoing governor's professionalism and commitment, according to press statement issued by the Finance Ministry here.

Wathra thanked the minister for the support extended to him in undertaking and fulfilling his official obligations. Finance Minister on the occasion also welcomed the newly appointed Governor SBP, Tariq Bajwa and wished him well for his new assignment.