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April 17, 2018

Non-filers will not be able to purchase property, says Miftah

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April 17, 2018

ISLAMABAD: More stringent conditions are on the cards in the upcoming budget for non-taxpayers as the government has already imposed restrictions under which non-filers will not be able to purchase property from July 1, 2018, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Miftah Ismail said on Monday.

Talking to reporters after addressing a round-table conference on investment in Pakistan, Miftah Ismail said that salary and pension would be increased more than inflationary pressure of 5 percent on average in the upcoming budget.

“We will give regular increase in defence budget as no extraordinary jump will be granted on this account,” he said while answering different questions of journalists. He said that the outlay of the federal budget would be hovering around Rs5.5 trillion for the upcoming fiscal year and he would himself present the budget speech in the parliament.

Regarding the real estate reforms, he said that the provinces would be requested to do away with valuation rates of property known as DC rates and similarly the FBR’s valuation rates would also be abandoned. “We will allow sale/purchase of property at any rate but the government will have the power to buy land at double rate within six months period,” he added.

To another query about the opposition demand to present four months’ budget only, he said that it was moral and constitutional responsibility of the government to present the budget for the whole fiscal year as increase in salary, pension, defence allocation, FBR target and others budgetary issues could not be unveiled on four-month basis. “The incoming government will have the power to amend anything as mini budget can be introduced if they wish to bring any change,” he added.

He said that the government had established contacts with the PPP and PTI and mentioned names of Naveed Qammar and Shireen Mazari before fixing the date for announcement of the budget and they endorsed the government’s strategy to present the budget. But, later on, he said, Imran Khan gave a statement against the government’s right to present the next budget and he was clueless why they brought a change in their policy. The provinces, he said, wrote letters to apprise them about the date of budget announcement on April 27, 2018 so that the provinces would have sufficient time for preparation and presentation of the budget before completion of tenures.

He said that the FBR assessed revenue losses of Rs90 to Rs100 billion and this money would go into the pockets of middle class and with multiplier effect this extra money would come into circulation and the government would get its share in the shape of taxes on consumption. The incoming government, he said, would have the powers to reverse this reduction.

Earlier, in his address, he said that there were five salient features of economic reform package announced by PM Abbasi as the tax rates were reduced from 30 to 15 percent and taxable ceiling limit was jacked up from Rs40,000 earning of per month to more than Rs100,000 per month.

Second, he said that the government identified one million non-filers with the help of Nadra on the basis of higher consumptions and this data would be shared with the FBR before leaving our office on May 31.

Third, he said the government introduced real estate reforms under which non-filers would not be able to buy property from July 1, 2018. After abolishing FBR’s valuation rates and DC rates, he said the federal government would have the powers to buy plot at double rate in the first year so it would pave the way for declaring at least 50 percent genuine rate of property. In the second year, the government will buy property at 75 percent and third year 50 percent rates.

Regarding the current account deficit, he said that with the devaluation of 10 percent and tightening of monetary policy, the exports were picking up and imports were falling, helping the government to narrow down the current account deficit. For ensuring dent on poverty, he said Pakistan will have to grow at the rate of 10 percent of GDP for the next 20 years in order to enter into the league of nations of middle and higher income brackets.

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