ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue met here at the Parliament House Monday under the Chairmanship of Senator Ahmed Ali has observed that economy was undoubtedly under immense pressure. The Committee suggested that tax anomalies should be removed and ways and means be found out to create employment opportunities and give relief to the common man.
The Committee directed FBR to study and respond to the proposals put forward by various stake holders such as Chambers of Commerce & industry, Stock Exchanges within next four or five days. Federal Minister for Finance, Mr. Ishaq Dar informed the Committee that our economy was under great pressure. Unfortunate rise in oil prices, various subsidies given by the previous government and withholding of payments on various counts further aggravated the economic situation.
He said that revenue generation was stagnant and our GDP was one of the lowest in the region. Billions of rupees are still to be paid. We want to prepare budget for the poor people and not for the elite class; we have to reduce unemployment and take the country forward observed Mr. Dar.
He vowed to present a very transparent and factual statement on the state of economy in the parliament as well as in its relevant committees. He said that the former Finance Minister/Prime Minister would be invited to the meetings to ascertain his views on the state of the economy.
The Finance Minister assured the Committee that in Budget 2008-09 emphasis would be laid on manufacturing industry and agriculture. The Chairman of the Committee Senator Ahmed Ali underlined the need to increase resources and income with a view to take the country forward. He impressed upon the need not to make negative statements about the state of economy so that the flow of capital in the country goes on unhindered.
The Chairman of the Committee endorsed the idea of presentation of the blue print of the budget proposals in the Parliament well in time and suggested that the blue print should come out and presented in the Parliament at least 2 to 3 months earlier than actual presentation of the budget.
The Members of the Committee expressed the view that we must not subject economy to politics. Instead, we should focus on increasing our revenue from hitherto untapped resources. They vowed to extend fullest support to the Government in achieving the objective of taking the country forward. It was suggested that pre-budget sessions of the two houses should be convened to take input from the Members for incorporation of the viable recommendations in the budget proposals.
It was suggested that they must find out ways and means not only to give relief to the poor man but also to create employment opportunities in the country. The Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue, Mr. Abdullah Yousaf assured the Committee that the proposals put forward in the meeting will be duly taken care of. He said that FBR, as per past practice is initiating interaction with all the stake holders and what is doable will be done.
The Chairman FBR Mr. Abdullah Yousaf stated that FBR would welcome the proposals/recommendations of the Committee. He assured that the recommendations would be definitely given due consideration.
The meeting was attended, besides the Chairman of the Committee Senator Ahmed Ali and the Minister for Finance Mr. Ishaq Dar by Senators Ch. Muhammad Anwar Bhinder, Nisar A. Memon, Pari Gul Agha, Dr. Khalid Soomro, Dr. Safdar Ali Abbasi and Mr. Haroon Akhtar, Chairman FBR, Mr. Abdullah Yousaf, senior functionaries of the Ministry of Finance, FBR and the representatives of the FPCCI, KCI, LCCI, ICCI, KSE, ISE and SECP were also present.-SANA