ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) launched on Friday the 5th consecutive online tax directories of parliamentarians and the rest of taxpayers for the tax year 2017.
Minister of State for Revenue Muhammad Hammad Azhar launched the directories in a ceremony which was held here at FBR headquarters.
The Chairman FBR, members of inland revenues services, director generals, directors and officers from the field formations were also presented in the event.
Addressing the ceremony Hammad Azhar termed the launch of tax directories as a positive step of the government and said that it would bring transparency in all financial matters, promoting the tax culture and encouraging the non-filers to file their tax returns as a responsible citizen.
The trend of publishing tax directories was started by Finland, and Pakistan was among the few countries who were publishing their tax directories on regular basis, he added.
He said that reason behind the reduction in tax to GDP ratio in the country was mainly attributed to the wrong deeds of ruling elite, which were wasting the national money on their protocol and luxurious lifestyles and their attitude towards national wealth had discouraged the general public to pay the tax.
He said that Tahreek-e-Insaaf after coming into powers had introduced austerity campaign which was criticized by the opposition parties, adding that the Prime Minister had started the drive form his own office and it was executed in all ministries and divisions.
He said that this drive aimed at bringing confidence in general public and encourage them to pay the tax because their representatives were not spending their paid money on their own and ensured them that each penny of the national exchequer would be spent on the welfare of the masses.
He said that during last 10 years average growth in tax to GDP ratio usually remained at 1 percent to 1.5 percent and a large portion of tax collection was collected from indirect taxes which enhanced the tax burden on those who were already paying the tax.
The minister said that the current government had diverted its focus from indirect taxes to direct taxes and was taking measures to broaden the tax base by reducing the reliance on indirect taxes.
Highlighting the difficulties which were inherited by the government of PTI, he said that when it assumed the office, the budget deficit was historic high at Rs 2,300 billion, the current account deficit was recorded at 19 billion and other irregularities in financial and other matters, he added.
He said that government had taken steps and introduced measures to correct the direction of the national economy and putting it on the strong fundamentals of sustainable economic development, adding that these measures had started bearing results as macro-economic indicators were showing positivity.
The traded and services deficit had significantly come down during last seven month as it reduced by 32 percent as compared the corresponding period of last year, besides the current account deficit, decreased by 45-47 percent and came down by US$ 1.7 billion, he added.
He said that in internal accounts, the indicators were also showing positive trend and government would pay off debts of about $10 billion during current financial year, adding that fiscal deficit was still not reduced as the government had to pay back Rs 17,00 billion to Rs19, 000 billion in terms of interest that had been borrowed by the previous regimes.
Revenue Minister said that government was taking steps to bring the influential tax evaders on tax net, besides legislation to be made to empowering the FBR to make recovery form those who owned off-shore properties.
He asked the FBR to find some out of the box solution reducing dependency on indirect taxes and focusing on direct taxation by using the technology and bringing the potential taxpayers under tax net by ensuring the supremacy of law and constitution.
Meanwhile, Chairman FBR Muhammad Jahanzaib Khan informed that the board was determined to achieve its revenue collection targets set for the current financial year, adding that tax filing grew by 34 percent and more facilities would be provided to enhance the tax collection in the country.