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May 29 - June 04, 2000

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
  5. Trade
  6. Gulf

Tax evaders put on warning

The government has evolved a new strategy for broadening the tax base through documentation of economy and hopes to collect Rs100 billion in addition during fiscal year 2000-2001.

To achieve this objective a phased survey of assets and income in major industrial and commercial centres of 13 cities is being launched from Saturday.

"This is the requirement of house cleaning and that is why we have decided to document the economy and bring all its activities in the formal sector", Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz told a news conference here on Friday.

Mr Aziz spelled out the details of the tax survey and expressed the hope that the drive would help increase the existing number of taxpayers from 1.2 million to 2 million within a year.

He said the government would not tolerate any hurdle in the way of the survey. "Whether somebody likes it or not GST will be recovered", he said adding that the IMF and other donor agencies had been briefed about the imposition of GST and the survey.

As soon as the drive was complete we would have the necessary information to launch a crackdown on tax evaders, who would be dealt with full force, that would not only entail penal provisions but also arrests and imprisonment.

The minister also said that a total of 1,040 employees of the CBR had been sacked on charges of corruption. Their names would be made public in the next three or four days. Among the 109 dismissed officers six were in grade 21, 34 in grade 20, 43 in grade 19, 55 in grade 18, and 52 in grade 17. While 850 employees belonged to grade 7 to 16, he said.

Mr Aziz did not mention under what law these employees have been sacked and whether they have been served with show-cause notices or provided any opportunity to explain their positions.

Market at research projects unveiled

The Pakistan Advertisers Society (PAS) has decided to make public sector companies eligible for its membership and increase the number of council members from eight to 10, says a press release.

Nadeem Hussain, chairman, audience measurement committee declared projects for television audience measurement and a rural establishment survey planned for this year. These projects would cost about Rs 25 million over the next two years.

Chairman PAS, Tariq Ikram lauded the efforts of the PAS for having increased the number of members up to 40 during the last nine months and the research work done in various projects that benefited marketing and advertising community alike.

Insurance ordinance may create cartel

The proposed Insurance Ordinance 2000 is being tailor-made to suit a very few national and international companies. This will create a sort of cartel in the insurance industry.

This apprehension was expressed by Sheikh Humayun Saeed, chairman FPCCI standing committee on insurance, while endorsing the resolution adopted at the general body meeting of Insurance Association of Pakistan (IAP) on Thursday which gave vent to similar misgivings.

Hydel policy to be reframed

After facing a zero response from the investors on the marketed hydel power projects the Water and Power Ministry has decided to reframe the policy after consulting the provinces and the experts, well placed sources said.

Only one party showed initial response towards the government's offer for establishing five hydro power units at five different places in the NWFP. The sole party too could not qualify for the bidding for the 72 mw project at Khan Khwar, Swat. The projects which were offered by the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) include, Daral Khawar (35 mw), Golen Gol, Chitar (106 mw), Summer Gah, Kohistan (28 mw) besides the Khan Khawar at Swat.

Storage facilities

Civil Aviation Authority will provide sufficient space to Export Promotion Bureau within airport premises to facilitate export of perishable goods.

PNSC plans rightsizing

Pakistan National Shipping Corporation plans to save $1.5 million through right-sizing, closing of overseas offices and rationalizing its operations. This was infomed by PNSC's chairman Vice Admiral A.U. Khan to the federal minister of communication at a meeting at PNSC office.

Dredging strategy

Port Qasim Authority (PQA) will ensure maintenance of 11 metres draught uniformly in the entire navigational channel round the year.

The channel will be dredged to a depth of 14.5 metres and a uniform 200 meters width of the channel will be achieved, says a PQA press release.

Decision on GST won't be withdrawn

The visiting five-member IMF mission headed by Ms Sena Ekin was assured by the minister for finance that the government would not back out of its decision to impose General Sales Tax (GST) on retailers from the next financial year.

According to the official sources, finance minister Shaukat Aziz and secretary general finance Moeen Afzal told the review mission that the government has made it clear to all the concerned trade bodies that the GST could not be withdrawn and that it was the future tax of the country.

The meeting between the two sides was arranged in the backdrop of ongoing controversy over the imposition of the GST and the traders consistent view against it. The mission was told that both the GST and the tax on agriculture income would have to be recovered from 2000-2001 with a view to strengthen the country' weak tax base.

In this regard the resolve of chief executive Gen Pervez Musharraf was also mentioned, with finance minister saying that the GST would become an important element of the next budget and that all necessary arrangements were currently being made to ensure its effective levy by the authorities of the Central Board of Revenues.