Nov 27 -
Dec 03, 2000
Govt to get Rs436 billion revenue: Shaukat
Minister for Finance Shaukat Aziz on Thursday
assured the visiting vice president of the World Bank, Ms Mieko
Nishimizu, that the government will achieve its Rs436 billion revenue
collection target, despite a Rs4 billion shortfall that occurred
during the first four months of 2000- 2001.
Informed sources told the finance minister said
that efforts were being made to collect an additional Rs90 billion
during the current financial year to also achieve the 5.2 per cent GDP
budget deficit target.
The issue of the filing of 30 per cent less income
tax returns this year was also discussed, with Mr Aziz saying that
notices have just been sent to those who did not file their income tax
returns despite having their fair income. Also underfilers had been
sent similar notices.
The visiting World Bank president was told that the
Task Force on the restructuring of the Central Board of Revenue will
give its report early next year to greatly improve the functioning of
the organisation, especially with a view to increasing revenues and
The finance minister also said that the government
has worked out a detailed plan to reduce the level of poverty in
Pakistan. And as a first step, he said, the government has established
a Micro Finance bank with an equity of Rs 2 billion.
He said that the government planned to offer more
money to the bank in case revenue generation was improved by the CBR.
Sources said during the meeting in which other
senior officials of the ministry of finance were also present, the
issue of poverty alleviation was discussed in detail. Mr Aziz told the
World Bank vice president that Pakistan was interested in funding for
the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF).
He expressed hopes that the proposed 620 million
dollar IMF loan under Standby Arrangement (SBA) will be converted into
a 2 to 2.5 billion dollar PRGF.
Export of wood items on agenda
The federal government is expected to allow the
export of wood products made out of sustainable forest woods, sources
said on Wednesday.
The federal ministries of commerce and environment
have jointly submitted a report in this regard to the Economic
Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, which is meeting on
Saturday after a month with Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz in the
The items which are being allowed to export include
timber doors, window frames, flush doors, panel doors, mouldings,
beading pallets, crates and cable drums in knock down condition, broom
sticks and floorings, all made from sustainable forest wood.
However, the government has decided that it would
be mandatory for exporters to ensure that the value of export product
should be at least 100pc more than the value at which the timber was
purchased from factory.
Banks to rollover $750m deposits
Pakistan has got bulk of its $1 billion worth of
foreign currency swap deposits rolled over for a second term of two
years. These deposits were raised mostly by foreign banks operating in
Pakistan from the international market before May 1998 when Pakistan
went nuclear and mobilization of such deposits stopped.
Bankers said banks and other financial institutions
agreed to rollover 75 per cent of existing $1.072 billion worth of
foreign currency swap deposits in the first year and 75 per cent of
then remaining deposits the next year. In other words foreign banks
and some financial institutions operating in foreign partnership would
roll over swap deposits of $750 million up to March 2002 and that of
$562 million up to March 2003. In other words the SBP would have to
pay $250 million of the existing $1 billion swap deposits up to March
2001 and another $187.5 million up to March 2002.
Internet bandwidth rates reduced
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Prof
Atta-ur-Rehman on Tuesday announced further reduction in Internet
bandwidth rates up to 50 per cent for the software companies, IT firms
and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Addressing a crowded press conference at PID Press
Centre, the minister said that government has reduced the bandwidth
rate from $32,000/Mb to $3,600/Mb. He said that about six months ago
the government had reduced the Internet bandwidth rates by 53 per
IMF not satisfied with income tax returns
The IMF has expressed concern over the filing of 33
per cent less income tax returns this year, and said that the
continued "grim" tax collection situation could jeopardize
the proposed $620m standby arrangement.
Sources in the multilateral agency told on Monday
that the "biggest disappointment" was the filing of 300,000
less income tax returns which showed that the business community was
not ready to pay taxes. The situation had worsened and alarmed
everyone as the government had failed to bring 100,000 new taxpayers
into the net as was planned, they added.
Package for FCA holders
The government is in the process of preparing a
package for foreign currency accounts holders in Pakistan, ensuring
not to freeze their accounts in future.
"The package will assure not to repeat the
previous sad story of freezing foreign currency accounts this
time", he told reporters during the launching ceremony of FUCHS
lubricants in Pakistan at a local hotel on Tuesday. He asked the
foreign investors and Pakistanis living abroad to bring their capital
to local and foreign banks of Pakistan without any fear.
Software exporters to retain earnings
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Saturday
allowed software exporters to retain 35 per cent of their export
earnings in special foreign currency accounts with the authorized
An SBP circular (F.E. No.25) said that software
exporters would use such funds for payment of commission to overseas
buyers and to meet other expenses such as promotional publicity,
import of hardware/software and foreign consultants fee etc.