PM seeks timeline for PIA privatisation

Published March 7, 2024
ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir calls on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the PM House on Wednesday. In the meeting, they discussed security-related matters, a PM Office press release said. The army chief also congratulated PM Shehbaz on assuming the office and expressed good wishes for him.—Courtesy PM Office
ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir calls on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the PM House on Wednesday. In the meeting, they discussed security-related matters, a PM Office press release said. The army chief also congratulated PM Shehbaz on assuming the office and expressed good wishes for him.—Courtesy PM Office

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Sheh­baz Sharif on Wednesday sought a final implementation schedule for the privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Chairing a high-level meeting on the airline’s privatisation and the restructuring of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the PM directed the Ministry of Privatisation to present the schedule about the PIA’s privatisation in two days.

The proposed roadmap for the automation of FBR was also approved, in principle.

The PM approved the hiring of a consultant for the restructuring of FBR and directed that legal issues holding up Rs1.7 trillion in stuck-up taxes be resolved.

He also directed the Ministry of Law to present proposals to create a legal department in the FBR for preparation of drafts according to law and hiring of services of lawyers.

PM Shehbaz said that six to seven per cent economic growth was possible with the implementation of reforms, adding that investment was needed to modernise the revenue and tax system.

“We want to bring a system of taxation based on incentives. We desire to reduce the burden of taxes, but the business community has to help by playing a role for the progress of people through social service,” he said.

The prime minister asked that an effective third party audit system should be ensured and urged that all tax exemptions should be thoroughly reviewed.

Outgoing finance minister Shamshad Akhtar briefed the meeting on the steps taken to enhance tax collection; refunds’ payment to the exporters; expanding the tax net; automation process; stopping tax evasion, institutional corruption and smuggling; and provision of quality services to the people. The Federal Policy Board should prepare a long-term tax plan for the continuity of policy, she added.

The meeting was attended by senators, MNAs and officials from key institutions, such as the State Bank and FBR. Prominent banker and HBL CEO Muhammad Aurangzeb also took part in the meeting via video link.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2024

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