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FBR ‘categorically denies’ news of tax exemption for import of bulletproof vehicles

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  • FBR says cabinet had allowed such facility in 2019 but no notification to this effect has been issued so far.
  • PM’s aide Salman Sufi says there is no question of allowing any duty-free imports to any official.
  • It was reported FBR has exempted senior army officers from all taxes on import of bulletproof vehicles.

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Saturday “categorically denied” issuance of any Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) that allows ex-military officers to import duty and tax-free bulletproof vehicles.

“FBR categorically denies reports appearing in some sections of media that it has issued an SRO allowing duty-free import of bulletproof vehicles,” the revenue board said in a brief statement.

The tax collection body added that the federal cabinet had allowed such a facility in 2019, however, no notification to this effect has been issued so far.

In a separate statement, PM’s aide Salman Sufi said that there is no question of allowing any duty-free imports to any official.

“Everyone shall pay their fair share of duty when importing any vehicle,” he tweeted.

It was earlier reported that after getting approval from the federal cabinet, the FBR exempted senior army officers from payment of all duties and taxes on the import of bulletproof vehicles of up to 6,000cc after their retirement and a notification will be issued soon.

The report said that the FBR’s Member Customs Policy signed an official notification to this effect on Friday but it was not yet placed on the official website.

However, top official sources confirmed to The News on Friday night that the exemption of Customs Duty, Sales Tax, Withholding Tax and Federal Excise Duty (FED) would be applicable on the import of bulletproof vehicles up to 6,000cc by retired military officials, including Lieutenant Generals, services chiefs, Chief of the Army Staff and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).

The sources confided to The News that the FBR might place the concerned notification on its website any time soon and that all formal requirements were fulfilled after seeking permission from the federal cabinet for allowing this kind of tax exemption.

However, there will be certain conditions attached to this permission. The FBR will allow the exemption of duties and taxes on the import of such vehicles by the said officials on their retirement on the recommendations of the Ministry of Defence.

All four-star generals are permitted to import two vehicles after retirement, according to the report.

The owners of the vehicles would be required to obtain the prior permission of the FBR for the sale of such vehicles after their import.

If the vehicle is disposed of before a five-year period, the FBR will recover all duties and taxes applicable at the time of import of such vehicles, it added.

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Pakistan receives a $2 billion loan from China, according to the finance minister

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The $2 billion loan was one year ahead of schedule and became due in March. According to reports, Beijing had informed Islamabad of the decision.

The International Monetary Fund granted Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy a $3 billion standby arrangement last summer, but the country is still battling to recover from the financial crisis.

According to ratings firm Fitch, one of the top concerns confronting the next administration would be obtaining funding from bilateral and multilateral partners due to Pakistan’s precarious foreign situation, as was stated last week.

This event occurs one month after Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the acting prime minister, asked for a $2 billion loan to be rolled over for a year in a letter to his Chinese counterpart.

In his letter, Kakar also expressed gratitude for China’s efforts to lessen Pakistan’s load

of foreign payments.

It is to be noted that Pakistan acquired safe deposits of $4 billion from China to address the balance of payments issue.

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“Ready to work with Pakistan’s new government,” the IMF said.

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In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

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In a new IMF agreement, Pakistan would “raise” the FBR tax-to-GDP ratio to 15%.

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The state bank reserves will be maintained at a level equivalent to three months’ worth of import bills, according to sources in the Finance Ministry.

According to sources, the ministry has also set a goal to maintain the primary balance surplus and reduce the current account deficit.

The ministry insisted that once the existing agreement expires, a new one would be negotiated with the IMF, and that the IMF will also be guaranteed that the requirements will be implemented prior to the agreement being finalised.

The founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) demanded that an audit of the election results be conducted before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved any additional loans for Islamabad. However, the IMF showed earlier today that it was eager to cooperate with the new administration in Pakistan by disregarding the demand.

According to Bloomberg News yesterday, Pakistan is to apply for a fresh $6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to assist the next government in paying off billions of dollars in debt that comes due this year.

According to the article, the nation would attempt to negotiate an Extended Fund Facility with the IMF, and it was anticipated that discussions with the international lender would begin in March or April.

Thanks to a short-term IMF bailout, Pakistan avoided defaulting last summer. However, the plan expires next month, and the next administration will need to negotiate a long-term deal to keep the $350 billion economy steady.

The IMF forced the South Asian country to enact a number of reforms prior to the rescue, including raising its benchmark interest rate, changing its budget, and raising the cost of natural gas and electricity.

According to a fund spokeswoman, the IMF staff is still in communication with authorities on the necessary longer-term reform initiatives. The fund is also prepared to assist the post-election government in addressing Pakistan’s ongoing issues by means of a new arrangement, should that request be made.

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