Islamabad - From July onwards, prices of mobile phones may increase by up to Rs2,000, as the federal government is considering to double the general sales tax (GST) on all types of imported handsets. According to insiders, the GST on handsets will be increased from Rs500 to Rs2000, from the entry level to high end sets. Pakistan doesn’t manufacture mobile phones on a large scale. However, few companies are in the process of installing manufacturing units. Presently, most of the sets are imported from China. It will be the end users, and not importers, who will bear the brunt of increase. The government had doubled the sale taxes on mobile phone imports just last year. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has collected Rs8.06 billion sales tax on the import of mobile phones during the ongoing fiscal year, as compared to projection of Rs8 billion for the said period.

In the last budget, the FBR had increased the sales tax on mobile phones to Rs300, Rs500 and Rs1000, from Rs150, Rs250 and Rs500, respectively, depending on features of each set.

The industry believes more taxes will hamper the growth of the sector in coming days.

“Increasing taxes on mobile phones, without providing any policy on manufacturing or assembling of handsets locally, will have a negative impact; the growth will slow down, and will negatively affect the forecasted investment,” Said Sohail Ahmad, an analyst and IT expert.


IMF prepared federal budget, claims

Economy Watch

Lahore (Staff Reporter): The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said IMF has already prepared budget while government has to announce and impose it on the due date. Trade associations are wasting time by submitting budget proposals while top officials are giving them assurances as usual, it said. A pro-growth budget as claimed by the government functionaries in the presence of IMF programme is a pipe dream, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. He said that how can government announce a pro-business and masses friendly budget when only one person out of 375 pay tax and a few thousand file return out of millions of professionals including doctors and lawyers. He said that IMF programme has retarded growth, reduced public sector spending and damaged tax structure beyond repaid. Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that tax system is highly flawed as industry pays 73 percent of total taxes while some other sectors are enjoying patronage.

He said that increase in private sector credit is not because of economic activity but due to stuck up refunds worth trillions. Private sector has no option but to seek costly credit to keep their businesses running, he observed.

Dr. Mughal said that Panama Papers has damaged the moral authority of the government which should ask politicians to pay taxes before burdening masses.

He demanded tax audit of 342 MNAs before squeezing masses to cope with increasing non-developmental expanses.



Pakistan winners of 10th Toyota Dream Car Art Contest announced

Lahore (Staff Reporter): The Pakistan winners of the 10th Toyota Dream Car World Art Contest were announced at a mega event. Takashi Kurai, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, was the chief guest on the occasion. The Toyota Dream Car Art Contest is a global Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) initiative that is held every year across the world among schoolchildren. The purpose behind this initiative is to promote art and to create opportunities for children from the world over to express their creative imagination by drawing a “Future Dream Car.” In Pakistan, the contest is organized by Indus Motor Company (IMC) as part of TMC’s global initiative. This year, nearly 19,000 artworks from schools across Pakistan were received, including the artworks of special children from vocational schools who also participated in the Contest. The entries were grouped into four categories, under-8 years, 8 to 11 years, 12 to 15 years and the Royal category for special children.

The top nine paintings have been sent to Japan for the World Art Contest.

The following winners were announced: (Toyota Region South): Hania Mubeen, Aisha Shaikh, M. Aayan Asif, Salar Aamir, Abdul Rafa, M. Ali Akhtar, Mariam Faizan, Syeda Rameen Naqvi, Iffah Aiman, Safi ur Rehman, Ayesha and Aleeza Saleem; (Toyota Region Central): Ume Romaan Khalid, Noor-ul Eman, Haram Aeem, Hydar Naveed, Azan Atiq, Faraz Hussain, Khubaib Ahmad Qureshy, Malaika Khan, Minahil Fatima, Batool Ali, Qamar Abbas and Arooj Maseeh; (Toyota Region North): Zunair Naveed Baig, Rahimah Rafay, Lajeen Zoya Rashad, Muhammad Ali Naqvi, Akbar Khan Toru, Hudaibiya Rehman Ghandapur, Muhammad Abdul

Rehman, Ali Kamran, M Shehroz, Moosa Aleem, Abdul Moneeb and Sataish.

Mr. Parvez Ghias, CEO, Indus Motor Co., said, “I congratulate the Pakistan winners of the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest and greatly appreciate their interest. We have held this contest very successfully every year. The awareness of our school children and special children about the competition gives a big boost to our efforts – and also shows how our young people are thinking about the future.”


Pakistan, Ukraine can easily boost trade volume to new heights: Envoy

ISLAMABAD (APP): Ukrainian Ambassador to Pakistan Volodymyr Lakomov Sunday said that Pakistan and Ukraine could easily boost their existing trade volume to new heights by exploring non-traditional avenues.  The envoy, in an exclusive talk with APP, said the current trade volume between the two countries was $500 million and steps were in hand to enhance the same. Ukraine was in the process of signing about a dozen agreements with Pakistan thereby providing a level playing field to the investors from both the sides, besides enhancing science and technologies, education, cultural and trade relations, he added. He said Pakistani businessmen could explore Ukrainian market for their products like textile, handicraft, leather goods, surgical instruments, sport goods and fruits, especially mango, kinnow and dates. Similarly, Ukraine could export metallurgy items, wheat, cargo and aviation and aerospace technologies, besides military hardware, he added.

He said Pakistan had a lot of potential to excel in the aviation sector and Ukraine having over six decades experience of manufacturing   passenger and cargo aircraft could help it in that regard. Ukraine's "Antonov" company had so far developed over 100 types of aircraft, including one of the biggest cargo carriers, besides a fire-extinguisher, he added.

For enhancing bilateral trade the two countries, he said, had recently inked an agreement to do away double taxation. The two countries could sign memorandums of understandings for cooperation in fields like investment, aviation, education, maritime merchant ships, law enforcement field, agriculture and food security, science & technologies, and cultural exchanges.

He appreciated that the democratic system had deepening its roots in Pakistan after passing through a series of tests and trials.

Referring to a recent meeting of Ukrainian Foreign Minister with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, he said both the leaders discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation.

Expressing his appreciation for the quality and taste of Pakistani fruits, he said, "Kinnow, Mango and dates of this country are juicy and tasteful."    

Whenever he visited Kiev - the capital of Ukraine - he took along these gifts of the nature (kinow or mango and dates) for his family and friends, he added.

He said though the long distance between the two countries was a handicap for import and export of such perishable fruits, but the Ukrainians were fond of the quality and taste of fruits produced in Pakistan.

Appreciating the proposal for arranging a programe of Ukrainian  singer 'Jamala', the winner of Eurovision song competition, in Pakistan on its founding day on August 14, the ambassador said it would a step forward to enhance bilateral cultural ties.