Incentives for foreign investors to be improved in budget 2016-17

KARACHI: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Haroon Akhter, has expressed his confidence that the vastly improved macro-economic parameters will provide a launching pad for growth-oriented economic policies in the upcoming budget.

In an interactive session with leading foreign investors in Pakistan during his visit to Overseas Investor Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) to discuss its taxation proposals for 2016-17 Federal Budget, here on Monday, he said incentives for foreign investors will be improved.

He was accompanied by FBR Member Tax Policy Rehmatullah Wazeer, CC LTU Karachi Syed Ayaz Mahmood and CC Customs Shaikh Rasheed. Haroon Akhter informed that the entire government machinery, including the Prime Minister, are focused on increasing the level of FDI into the country as per country’s economic potential.

He said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project will be a game changer for the economy and people of Pakistan.

The PM’s Special Assistant appreciated OICCI taxation proposals. Commenting on the major points of the proposals, he said the government is aggressively pursuing initiatives to broaden tax base.

He warned tax evaders that the FBR is now very well equipped with data and skill to catch tax evasion.

Haroon Akhter was confident that it is only a matter of time that tax evaders, including those not paying duty on cigarette and other products, will be caught and punished severely. He also referred to the recent Voluntary Tax Compliance Scheme (VTCS) and mentioned that it was part of tax broadening process.

The PM’s Special Assistant informed that last year concessions worth Rs 221 billion given through SROs were withdrawn, and another Rs 120 billion will be withdrawn in 2016-17 budget.

He mentioned that FBR’s IT infrastructure is undergoing substantial improvement which will not only connect various available databases to identify new taxpayers but also will address operational issues of taxpayers.

Haroon Akhter found the Tax Reform Commission report to be of high quality.

He informed that he is chairing a committee to monitor its implementation on a priority basis.

He highlighted government’s key achievements since 2013. He mentioned that good policies have resulted in “Improvement in the country’s overall security environment, especially in Karachi and Balochistan, reduction in the level of power and gas load shedding, lowering of inflation, reduction in bank borrowing rates, reduced fiscal deficit, GDP growth going up from 2-3 percent to beyond 4.5 per cent for the first time in many years, comfortable foreign exchange reserves, robust performance of PSE index, besides improvement in international economic ratings of the country.”

FBR Member Tax Policy Rehmatullah Wazeer also appreciated OICCI taxation proposals. He promised that all the recommendations will be evaluated and some of the key FDI-related measures like extending timelines of some of the incentive schemes under section 65 of the IT ordinance and giving additional credits for electronic invoicing will be given priority.

President, OICCI, Shahab Rizvi thanked to Haroon Akhter for considering all the key points of the OICCI Taxation Proposals and his promise to review all the recommendations. He highlighted salient features of Taxation Proposals which are focused on boosting economic and employment growth opportunities. APP