ISLAMABAD - Rejecting the proposal of Federal Board of Revenue to impose tax on the remittances in forthcoming federal budget, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday said that no such proposal was under consideration by the federal government.
“There is not going to be any tax in the coming budget on the foreign remittances”, said Finance Minister while addressing the launching ceremony of National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) for Pakistan. Finance Minister’s statement came after a day when Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa told the Senate’s Finance Committee that FBR is going to restrict the (tax-free) flow of foreign remittances in the budget, but a final decision will be taken by the federal cabinet.
“I will reject the proposal of the FBR of imposing tax on remittances”, Dar said. He also rejected another proposal of the tax department to change section 111(4) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, which provides immunity from probe into any amount of foreign remittances sent to Pakistan through proper banking channels.
Ishaq Dar also asked the speculators to immediately seize the rumours regarding the topic of rupee value. The exchange rate has been determined in open market in transparent manner, which is closely monitor by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said after defeating the threat of default and converting instability into a stable economy, the Government would now focus on economic growth.  Addressing launching ceremony of National Financial Inclusion Strategy Pakistan 2015-20 in Islamabad on Friday afternoon, he said despite challenges the GDP growth rate would be 4.2 percent in the current financial year.
He said the target of 5.5 percent could not be achieved because of floods that damaged agriculture sector and undesirable political sit-in in Islamabad.
The Finance Minister acknowledged that the fall in prices of oil and other commodities in the international market helped contain current account deficit, which was over two percent in previous years, to below one percent this year.  However, this also resulted in fall in revenue collection.
He also indicated that allocations for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) would be increased for the next year.
Earlier, Finance Minister launched National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) for Pakistan. The objective of the strategy is to build momentum and push forward reforms to achieve universal financial inclusion in an integrated and sustained manner.
While sharing the vision, Dar said “Government is striving to create more opportunities of doing business and make the common people of Pakistan self-reliant and economically empowered.” In this regard, the government is working at various levels to improve governance and availability of energy and other key infrastructure inputs, he further said.
He highlighted that the recent historic agreement for creation of Pak-China Economic Corridor is an economically vital plan devised to help drive Pakistan’s economic growth. The economic corridor will connect economic agents and link economic centers with large resources which can be cultivated for job creation.
While emphasising the need for increasing access to fair and dignified financial services to achieve sustainable economic growth, the Finance Minister said that the NFIS, championed by the State Bank of Pakistan, is consistent with the Government of Pakistan’s Vision 2025, which calls for enhancing access to credit for SMEs and focuses on strengthening & deepening of financial inclusion in the country.  
He further pointed out that the Government is already working on some of the drivers that the NFIS identifies to catalyze financial inclusion. In particular, digitalisation of payments is a priority area and resolute efforts have been taken to support the digitalisation of payments and give depth to financial services among various segments of the population. He shared that Pakistan has become a member of the Better than Cash Alliance - a global initiative. The contribution of branchless banking is significant when it comes to channelising the Government-to-Person payments.
Finance Minister emphasised the stakeholders to show their full commitment and active engagement to increase access and quality of financial services for the underserved segments of the economy and help to build a sustainable and prosperous Pakistan.
Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, Governor SBP said that since the early 1990’s, Pakistan’s financial sector has witnessed considerable reforms that have significantly strengthened its soundness, profitability, efficiency and diversity.
Also, Pakistan has been a pioneer in championing financial inclusion for over a decade and achieved a large number of significant milestones. In particular,  the creation of a regulatory framework for Microfinance Banks in 2001; the expansion and modernisation of online credit information bureau (e-CIB) in 2005; the adoption of Branchless Banking Regulations allowing a tiered approach to know-your-customer (KYC) requirements in 2008; the launch of Financial Inclusion Program under DFID support which includes risk sharing initiatives, smart grant facilities for capacity development, innovation and market infrastructure development in 2008; the establishment of a specialised microfinance credit information bureau (m-CIB) in 2009; and the launch of a nationwide Financial Literacy Program in 2012.
He pointed out that despite the sustained efforts, the level of financial inclusion remains very low and there are a number of reasons for the low level of financial inclusion. He shared that the persistence of financial exclusion in the face of long-standing efforts to promote inclusion pointed the need for a comprehensive National Financial Inclusion Strategy. The strategy has thus created the needed platform for SBP, GoP and private sector to adopt and implement a comprehensive set of coherent and sequential reforms needed to influence financial inclusion in a big way.