ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance recommended reducing General Sales Tax (GST) on Tuesday from the current 17 per cent to 15pc for the next fiscal year 2017-18 to assist people.
The committee also recommended expanding the tax base by introducing further structural reforms in the prevailing system.
The committee meeting was chaired by Qiaser Ahmed Sheikh, Member of National Assembly (MNA), and MNA Asad Umar, senior leader and policy head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Mr Umar said dependence upon withholding and indirect taxes should be reduced by taking drastic measures. He suggested 0.5 pc be imposed on net wealth tax, which should be adjustable against the income tax and this measure would help generate an extra Rs 300 to Rs 400 billion a year. He said the net wealth tax could be gradually increased in future.
The committee proposed revaluation of the real estate property while at the same time the committee also recommended reducing property tax.
MNA Mustafa Mehmood said usage of digital money should be promoted in order to document the economy.
Mr Umar also opposed the idea of giving amnesty schemes saying that this would encourage the tax evaders. “The government should give exemplary punishment to the tax evaders in a bid to discourage the habit of tax evasion,” he added.
The committee decided to convene the single agenda meeting to discuss the budget proposals on April 26 and all concerned stakeholders and departments would be invited to attend.
Regarding the issue of property purchased by Pakistani Nationals in Dubai, Mr Umar said that he requested the concerned departments regarding the validity of those transactions but he did not received a positive response.
Mr Sheikh said in the next regular meeting, the officials of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigating Agency (FIA), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) would be summoned to reply to the questions raised by Mr Umar.
Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2017