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Contribution for dams construction not liable to tax: SC

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Chief Justice asks to reduce school fee

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Wednesday maintained that the contributions made to the Diamer Bhasha & Mohmand Dams Fund would not be liable to any tax/duty whatsoever.
A four-member bench passed the written orders while hearing the case regarding construction of the two dams and contribution in a fund being established for the purpose.
The top court had emphasized the urgent need for construction of Dams and appealed to the nation to make its contribution in an account titled, “Supreme Court of Pakistan – Diamer Bhasha & Mohmand Dams – Fund”.
The account has been set up to receive donations from the nation for the sole purpose of construction of the aforenoted Dams (Diamer Bhasha & Mohmand Dams).
The judgment stated that the donations could be made at all the branches of the State Bank of Pakistan, all treasury offices and branches of National Bank of Pakistan as well as other banks, including micro-finance banks.
The orders said,”Branches of all banks (15000 approximately) across the country receiving such deposits shall prominently display banners on their entry points stating that donations/contributions are being received in these branches for the construction of Diamer Bhasha & Mohmand Dams as ordered by the ‘Supreme Court of Pakistan’.
“The State Bank of Pakistan has set up a toll-free helpline No.021-111-723-273 for answering queries as well as receiving complaints from anyone interested in making a donation. Other banks shall also set up their separate helplines, which will be notified through their advertisements in the print and electronic media.”
The apex court maintained that branchless banking i.e. Omni/Easy Paisa, etc operated by their approximately 400,000 agents across the country, would be made functional within 48 hours from today (Wednesday).
The Pakistani missions, as well as all branches of Pakistani banks abroad, would receive donations/contributions, it added.
The court directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue appropriate directions to the Pakistani missions abroad in consultation with the State Bank of Pakistan for receiving donations/contributions and transmission of the amounts received by them to the designated account of the Fund with the State Bank of Pakistan.
It added,”Subscribers of cellular mobile phone companies namely Mobilink (Jazz), Telenor, Zong and Ufone wishing to make donations/contributions may dial short code i.e. 8000 which will result in an automatic deduction of Rs.10/-.
“Aforesaid cellular mobile phone companies have voluntarily undertaken to run a media campaign of 5-8 seconds on the print and electronic media publicizing this initiative. These companies shall advertise the mode and manner through which contributions/donations through Jazz Cash and Easy Paisa can be made.”
The order noted that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had in consultation with the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Print & Electronic Media Regulatory Authority prepared an advertisement campaign for the media to increase public awareness through the print as well as electronic media which would be run by all the print and electronic media houses/channels/FM radio stations free of cost as public service messages.
The Supreme Court also directed the Ministry of Law & Justice in consultation with Federal Board of Revenue to promulgate an ordinance for inter alia making appropriate amendments in different laws, including the Income Tax Ordinance to ensure that donations/contributions made to the Fund are not subjected to any taxes or deductions.
“The contributions made to the Fund shall be treated as contributions towards charitable purposes and shall not be liable to any tax/duty,” it added.
The apex court said any person making donations /contributions to the Fund would not be subjected to any inquiry or probe as to the sources of the funds utilized for making contributions/ donations by any department, authority or person.
The court also said it had not authorized any individual or group, etc to collect donations. The matter was relisted for hearing July 30.

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Pakistan

Flexibility shown in appointing PAC chairman!

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ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser Thursday said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had shown great flexibility for resolving the deadlock regarding the appointment of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman for the smooth functioning of the parliament.
Talking to a private news channel, he said after the appointment of the PAC chairman the legislation process would restart in the National Assembly and Chairman of Senate standing committees and other committees would be appointed to carry out legislation.
Replying to a question, he said there would be no comprise over the accountability process in the country and the deadlock was resolved on the condition that the accounts of previous government would be monitored by a senior member of the PTI and remaining accounts by the PAC Chairman.
Responding to another question, he said the decision regarding PAC Chairman was taken in consultation with the senior leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. It was important to continue the legislation process of the National Assembly, he added.

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Education

Govt making efforts to take country out of crisis

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PTI to bring change

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education & Professional Training and National History and Literary Heritage Shafqat Mahmood today said PTI government was making efforts to take the country out of crisis and put the national economy back on the path of progress by enhancing its trade and export.
Talking to a private news channel, he said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was a completely independent institution and the government has nothing to do with it matters.
He said the corruption cases against leaders of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party were started in the tenure of their governments adding same NAB law was present during the PML-N government and no change was made in its law.
Replying to a question, regarding accountability, he said the PTI government was in favor of ongoing accountability process for recovering and bringing back the looted money of the poor from abroad.
He further said in the present government everyone was accountable, irrespective of whether he or she belonged to opposition or treasure benches.
Responding to another question, he said the transfer and postings of the bureaucrats were preoperative of the federal government and it was being done to put the right man on a right job for efficient working of the government operations.

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Asia

ADB to provide $7.528 bn to Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has planned to support Pakistan with lending of $7.528 billion for various development projects during the next three years.

In its new Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for Pakistan 2019-21 revealed on Thursday, the ADB has proposed a sovereign lending program for next three years worth $7.528 billion, consisting of $5.37 billion from regular Ordinary Capital Resource (OCR) lending and $2.158 billion from Concessional COR Lending (COL). COL includes a carryover of $600 million from 2018. The non-lending program for 2019–2021 is $21.7 million, including transaction technical assistance for various pipeline projects. An amount of $2.245 billion in ADB loan financing is allocated for the energy sector, which is 29.8 percent of the total pipeline for 2019–2021.  

The pipeline includes a multi-tranche financing facility for Transmission Strengthening (tranche 1) for National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), Hydropower Development Project for Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), and support for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline Project. For the transport sector, some $1.394 billion of ADB loan financing for the sector (18.5% of the total pipeline) have been allocated for the transport sector.  The pipeline includes the Sustainable National Highway Project and the Sindh Hyderabad Southern Bypass Project.

ADB also proposes support for the revitalization of Pakistan Railways to improve transport sector sustainability, including exploring non-conventional financing arrangements. For agriculture, natural resources, and rural development, ADB has allocated $794 million in loan financing to the sector (10.6% of the total pipeline).  The pipeline includes the Greater Thal Canal Irrigation Project, the Kurram Tangi Water Resources Project, and the Smaller Cholistan Water Resources Development Project. Similarly, for water and other urban infrastructure and services, the ADB has allocated $470 million in ADB loan financing (6.2% of the total pipeline).  The pipeline includes a cross-sector project readiness facility for Punjab and the Punjab Cities Improvement Project. ADB has also allocated $2.4 billion in loan financing to the finance and public sector management sectors (31.9% of the total pipeline).

The COBP, 2019-2021, includes new projects such as trade and competitiveness program (subprogram 1) in 2019; financial markets development in 2020; infrastructure financing and PPPs in 2021; as well as the second phase of support for the Benazir Income Support Program in 2020. The education and health sectors pipeline includes $225 million in loan financing (3.0% of the total pipeline). ADB’s re-engagement in education and health sectors includes $175 million for projects on secondary education in Sindh and improving workforce readiness and skills development in Punjab, and $50 million projects to improve quality of health care services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

ADB will also provide technical assistance across sectors to help project implementation and to generate and disseminate knowledge products to support policy and project development, as well as to enhance project quality and readiness. Pakistan, a group B developing member country, is eligible for regular OCR lending and concessional OCR lending (COL).  The indicative resources available during 2019–2021 for sovereign operations amount to $5,712 billion, comprising $4.29 billion for regular OCR lending and $1.422 billion for COL. The final allocation will depend on available resources, project readiness, project performance and debt distress rating of the country among others. ADB’s non-sovereign operations will supplement these resources.  ADB will also explore co-financing from other sources and seek financing from the regional pool under concessional resources and regular OCR for regional cooperation and integration.

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