Federal Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh addresses the Aga Khan University Convocation 2012 in Karachi on Saturday. – Photo by APP

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh on Saturday said that the government has planned to focus on more income tax collection after significant rise in sales tax collection.

The government will bring into tax-net everybody fit to pay taxes so that the country should not look towards international finance institutions for any loan or aid, said Sheikh while speaking to media representatives at the conclusion of convocation of Aga Khan Medical University.

He said that total amount of the tax collection was Rs 11,000 billion in 2008 which was increased to Rs 22,300 billion in last fiscal year. In the present financial year, he said, 21 per cent increase has been achieved in taxes collection.

He said the country has a very low tax-to-GDP ratio as compared to many other countries, even in the region. The country has culture of tax evasion which must be changed in the supreme interest of the country. Now, he said, “Our target would be to increase income tax collection.”

He said that the poor and low income people could not get fruit of any economic growth in the country in the past. That is why, he said, the PPP government initiated Benazir Income Support Programme to directly support the poor families. Around 3 million poor families have been benefited from the scheme, he added.

The finance minister said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was playing an important role in the world and that Pakistan is engaged in dialogue with it which is a continuous process.

Earlier, addressing the convocation, the finance minister said the country is going through a transition period witnessing many developments along with various challenges. However, it is moving in the right direction as the state institutions have strengthened and the rule of law established due to mature civil society and strong media, he added.

Listing some major achievements of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led government over the last four and a half years, Sheikh said that the federation has given Rs 500 billion to the provinces and transferred vast powers as well.

“This government has fulfilled the long-standing demand of provincial autonomy to the provinces,” he said, adding that now it is up to the people to take maximum benefits of this revolutionary change.

Recalling various challenges during the last four and a half years, the minister said the country faced devastating floods in 2010 and 2011, besides effects of global economic recession.

He urged the students to prepare themselves for playing a very important role in the prosperity and development of the country.

“You should follow the foot steps of our national heroes like Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Abdul Sattar Edhi,” he added.



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