ISLAMABAD  -   Hammad Azhar, Minister of State for Revenue, has termed the economic reforms package as neutral budget in term of fiscal and monetary measures but to revive and facilitate the investments and growth.

He said that his government will announce a medium-term economic framework in next week, where further supply-side measures will be taken to further boost exports and investments. Moreover, the government is moving towards direct taxation regime while gradually curtailing the indirect taxation, he added. He said this while speaking at the public seminar titled “Economic Reforms: Way forward”, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), here at Islamabad.

Azhar said that our economy is consumption based economy, where in the last ten years our fiscal and monitory policies failed to revive growth and facilitate investments in the country. He said that his government has taken tough measures which are now resulting in the stabilization of the economy. The sole aim of this economic reforms package was to boost the supply side of the economy and to enhance production and exports to its true potential, he added. Moreover, he said that his government has proposed in this Economic Reforms Package a simplified and friendly tax regime to ensure ease in doing businesses. While responding to a question, he said that his government neither planning nor in favor of any amnesty tax regime so far.

Haroon Sharif, chairman Board of Investment (BoI), said that all foreign state visits of Prime Minister were fundamentally to reach out investors and investments to get economy out of the crisis. He said that at BOI our objectives are 4-fold: increasing productivity, technology transfer, facilitate investments that support the export sector and job creation. He said that phase one of CPEC has become mature and in second phase we have five concrete proposals from China, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Korea in the sectors of oil industry, renewable energy, hospitality and tourism.  “The feedback that we receive from the investors and business community was on taxation structure which is repressive, inconsistency in policies and lack of contract enforcement capacity” said Haroon, adding that with the help of technology the government reduce taxes to 16 from 47 types of taxes which is a significant improvement, whereas the government intended to reduce these taxes further to single tax in next one year. He said that these corrective measures have set the direction of the economy, which will build confidence among investors.

Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director SDPI, said that this Economic Reforms Package of the government was an attempt to improve the cost and ease of doing businesses. He said that sometimes governments ought to take unpopular corrective measures to get the economy out of the crisis. This is for the first time that any government is trying to engage the Gulf States in an institutional manner which is a positive step forward towards improved ties with Gulf regions states, he added.