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Jul 17 - 23, 2000

CBR sets Rs90bn tax target for 1st quarter

Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has set itself a tax collection target of Rs90bn for the first quarter (July-Sept) of the financial year 2000-01.

The target of revenue collection for the new financial year has been set at Rs435.7bn. The largest deposits (44.44%) in the total for the first quarter have been estimated from the Sales Tax (Rs40bn.) The ST target for 2000-01 has been set at Rsl72.6bn. The ST target for the first month of the financial year (July 2000) has been set at Rsl2bn.

The sales tax wing expects Rsl5bn additional tax amount from the trade and manufacturing sectors to be brought in into the net through the survey. The Direct Taxes wing estimates to improve collection by Rs10bn on the basis of data to be computed on assets and incomes during the survey. For the 12-month period, the CBR had initially estimated a Rs100bn additional revenue from the expanded tax net on the basis of survey, however, the CBR has given a second thought to these estimations.

The officials said the government had estimated that Rs100bn would come from the survey-generated new tax sources in 12 months of the financial year 2000-01. Internally, they said, the CBR set itself the target of Rs35bn from the survey-based net expansion. These figures too, they said, have been revised downward. None of these amounts are expected to be deposited by taxpayers in the first two quarters of the new financial year, said CBR officials.

They explained that the CBR expects to collect Rs100bn on the basis of data collected through the ongoing survey in the latter two quarters of the financial year (Jan-June 2001), and not before that. In the first two quarters, the CBR would have to be content with existing sources for meeting the quarterly targets of revenue collection.

PSO to import fuel oil

Pakistan State Oil on Thursday became the first oil firm to issue a tender for fuel oil imports after the government announced it would deregulate the sector from July 1, officials said.

The state-run company, the country's largest oil marketing firm with more than 70 per cent market share for oil products, said it was seeking 240,000 tons of high sulphur fuel oil for August delivery.

Previously fuel oil imports was done by the ministry of petroleum and natural resources, 75 per cent of which was bought under term contracts with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with the rest purchased through quarterly spot tenders.

Industry sources said the move was part of government's policy to deregulate the oil sector. It was subsidizing some freight costs to keep oil product prices the same throughout the country.

The deregulation for fuel oil was announced in the budget for fiscal 2000/01 and finance minister Shaukat Aziz said last month that the government would allow private fuel oil imports from July 1.

EU to liberalize textile imports

The European Union said on Wednesday that it will liberalize 18 per cent of its textile and clothing imports as of Jan 1, 2002 but restrictions on key exports from Pakistan and other developing nations will remain pending a reciprocal lowering of barriers.

The EU Commission said it was ready to remove quotas on 37 product categories as part of a World Trade Organisation commitment to liberalize global textiles trade by Jan 1, 2005.

Software export target

The country's software exports, currently standing at around $ 30 million per annum, are likely to increase by 300 per cent increase by the next two years, sources at the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

"It can be realized with the creation of a network of software technology parks throughout the country", the sources argued.

The sources informed that a software park was already in operation at 'Awami Markaz' building which has been turned into a software park with 15 local and multinational companies working in this software park.

Action plan approved: SBP chief

Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Dr Ishrat Hussain has said the federal cabinet, in principle, has approved the action plan to promote e-commerce.

Addressing the seminar on "e-commerce and electronic funds transfer—infrastructure for Pakistan" at HBL head office on Thursday, he said promoting the e-commerce is a gigantic task but it can be achieved by collective efforts to enter in the digital revolution.

"If we able to get 0.2 per cent of share total global e-commerce business, it will make a foreign exchange impact of adding two billion dollars which include increase in exports, capitalization and workers remittances," the SBP chief said.

150,000 tons urea export proposed

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet has been requested to allow additional export of 150,000 metric tons of urea fertilizer.

The ECC is scheduled to meet on Friday with the finance minister Shaukat Aziz in the chair.

Official sources told on Thursday that earlier, export of urea was considered in the ECC meeting held on March 2, as no agenda item and it was decided that 100,000 tons could easily be spared for export.

Now the ministry of industries and production has informed the ECC that its earlier decision to export 100,000 tons urea would not solve the problem of fertilizer industry which is carrying a huge investment inventory.

Rice depressed

Rice exporters said Tuesday that international prices were depressed and they cannot compete without government support or incentive package.

Vice Chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, Haroon Qasim said the association had already sent a proposal to the government, seeking incentive for the rice exporters to enable them to compete in the international market.

He said this proposal had been sent on the advice of federal government which wanted to export remaining 200,000 tonnes this season.