Number of filers increases by 1m to reach 2.6m, Senate told

June 5, 2020

House condemns HR abuses in IOK: Govt says plans afoot to phase out duties: Work on FTA with Turkey underway: Food exports to ME go 36pc up ISLAMABAD : The Upper House of the Parliament was informed on Friday that number of tax filers has increased from 1.6 million to 2.6 million in a period of one year as a result of steps taken by the present government. The Senate began its session at the Parliament House with Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair. Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar told the house during question hour that national tax collection also witnessed 27 percent growth before the breakout of Covid-19. He said the post-pandemic has seen 30 percent decline in tax collection but expressed the confidence that the situation will improve as the business activities are being resumed. The minister said that databases are being used to improve the tax collection. He said the government plans to phase out import based duties and focus on domestic taxation. Responding to a supplementary question, the minister informed the house that the losses of state-owned enterprises surpassed the annual defense budget due to the indecisiveness and regressive policies of previous governments. He said the previous governments failed to revive or privatize Pakistan Steel Mills. Today the debt of Pakistan Steel Mills stands at Rs230 billion. He said the government has now decided to lease out the core steel mills operations to revive Pakistan Steel Mills. The minister for industries said the government gave a stimulus package of Rs1,200 billion to support different segments of the society including the poor and the businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. He said, “Our initiatives have helped reduce the inflation rate from twelve percent to eight percent. We have also reduced the petroleum prices which are currently the lowest in the South Asian region.” Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood told the house that Pakistan has got orders for the export of personal protective equipment (PPE) against coronavirus. He, however, said that surgical masks, N-95 and Tyvek gowns will not be exported. The adviser said the country’s fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry exports to the Middle Eastern countries witnessed a growth of 36 percent over the last twelve months. Responding to a question, Abdul Razak Dawood said Pakistan enjoys close and cordial relations with Turkey and is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with it to promote trade relations. Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Zaheer ud Din Babar Awan laid before the house a copy of Money Bill, the Members of Parliament (Salaries and Allowances) Amendment Bill, 2020. The adviser said the government will not support this bill. Earlier, the house offered Fateha for those who died of coronavirus including the parliamentarians and the victims of Karachi plane crash. God Almighty blessings were also sought to rid the country of this pandemic. The Senate unanimously passed a resolution expressing serious concerns over Indian barbaric atrocities and human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). The resolution moved by Leader of Opposition Raja Zafarul Haq strongly condemned the extra judicial killing of thirteen unarmed Kashmiris in occupied territory the other day. It demanded immediate action from the UN secretary general. The resolution declared fullest support to the cause of plebiscite in occupied Jammu and Kashmir which it said is the only peaceful and democratic way of solving this burning issue. The house will now meet on Monday at 04:00pm PST.

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