ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Wednesday said the government is working on restructuring economy’s fundamentals and strengthening regulatory regimes by appointing qualified individuals — local as well as overseas Pakistanis — at policy boards.
He said that these measures will eventually improve functional efficiency of all national institutions and help attain sustainable long-term economic development of the country.
Addressing a two-day “Leaders in Islamabad Business Summit”, he said that government has formed a five-member committee to appoint competent professionals to improve efficiencies of government organisations.
He said the regulatory regime has been strengthened as best professionals of the field were taken on the policy board of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. In order to promote friendly tax culture and facilitate tax-payers, members from the private sector have been included in the policy board of the Federal Board of Revenue, he added.
Besides, he said the government has also appointed overseas Pakistanis as heads of different national organisations including National Bank of Pakistan, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, National Investment Trust and other national institutions on merit without any political consideration.
The minister said that small and medium sector (SME) enterprises are facing access-to-credit issues but the government is taking steps to address them by facilitating supply and provision of easy loans.
He said that government is also upgrading technology in order to overcome tax theft issue by introducing a track-and-trace system which will be introduced next month. In first phase, the system would be applied in tobacco sector to check under-invoicing.
He said that intra agency communication between National Registration and Database Authority and the FBR will be strengthened in order to bring potential taxpayers into the tax net.
Highlighting government’s steps to promote exports, the minister said that multiple sectors have been facilitated and the results from textile sector would commence by April onwards. He said exports are likely to increase due to these measures while adding that the agreement with China would also be finalised at the earliest.
The minister said that long-term financing for textile sector would also be increased which currently stands at Rs1.5 billion.
Speaking on the occasion, Adviser to PM on Commerce and Textile Industry Abdul Razak Dawood said that government is taking steps to promote SMEs and reduce taxes on the import of raw materials.
He said that government is also making amendments in Duty and Tax Remission Scheme and a draft has been finalised which would be approved soon.
Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2019