Senate was informed today that the number of tax filers has increased from1.6 million to 2.6 million in a period of one year as a result of steps taken by the present government.
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar told the house during question hour that our tax collection also witnessed twenty seven percent growth before the breakout of Covid-19. He said the post pandemic has seen thirty percent decline in tax collection but expressed the confidence that the situation will improve as the business activities are being resumed.
The Minister said 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 230 billion rupees. He said the government has now decided to lease out the core steel mills operations to revive Pakistan Steel Mills.
Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar said the government gave a stimulus package of 1200 billion rupees 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. He said 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 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 thirty six 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 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.
Senate began its session at the parliament house in Islamabad today with Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair.