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SIFC approves FBR overhaul, subsidy phase-out

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  • Special committee formed on FBR restructuring.
  • PRAL restructuring with Nadra also gets a green light.
  • CMs asked to launch crackdown against fertilizer hoarding.

ISLAMABAD: The Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) jointly run by the civilian and military top brass has approved a plan for the FBR, PRAL restructuring with the Nadra and the introduction of a simplified scheme for retailers within a 15-day period.

The SIFC’s Apex Committee also considered a proposal of the Finance Division and granted its assent that the federal government may stop subsidy on fertilizer, agriculture tube-wells and expenditure on provincial public sector universities from the next financial year (FY) 2024-25. The committee met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar recently and top official sources disclosed that Minister of Finance Dr Shamshad Akhtar proposed a new governance structure for the FBR to establish separate Federal Board of Customs and Federal Board of Inland Revenue and appointment of DGs from respective cadres as their heads.

It has been decided that the separate Oversight Boards for Customs and Inland Revenue Administrations to be chaired by independent high-caliber professionals and members of the board will include public and private sector representation which will be nominated based on proper criteria and right expertise and integrity. 

The focus of reforms will be on strengthening governance with accountability through oversight boards. The reconstitution of the Federal Policy Board under the minister for Finance with the secretary Revenue Division will report to the Federal Policy Board with a new policy mandate. The Tax Policy Office will be constituted with HR having right expertise including taxation and industry professionals under the Federal Policy Board which will look after harmonization of assets valuation modalities and legal and regulatory framework of taxation regimes and promote revenue and policy coordination. The proposed reforms will be implemented within existing allocation of resources of the FBR. The Governor SBP advised that the audit function of the FBC and the FBIR would be placed under the Tax Policy Unit (TPU) for ensuring independence.

The Apex Committee in principle approved the proposed implementation of the plan for restructuring the FBR, constituting a special committee led by the Finance minister and including the cabinet secretary, Establishment, the secretary Finance, Law, Revenue and the secretary/chairman FBR which would conduct inter-ministerial consultation as required by the Rules of Business and a summary to the cabinet will be moved within two weeks for approval.

The PRAL restructuring with the Nadra also got a green light to conduct PRAL restructuring and rightsizing with focus on technical HR, Broadening to Tax Base (BTB), IT integration and transformation including data analysts and Artificial Intelligence for BTB and developing of Mathematical Models. The reorganization of the IT Wing will also be done.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir has asked the chief ministers and chief secretaries of all provinces to initiate a nationwide crackdown and take strict action against those individuals engaged in hoarding of fertilizers (urea) to sell it at a higher rate to farmers, unethically expanding the dealer margins. He said fertilizer wholesalers and retailers must ensure transparency of operations for facilitating farmers across the country.

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April FDI in Pakistan increased to $358.8 million, according to SBP

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The inflow for April was $358.8 million, up 177% from $132 million in April FY23. Still, that was 39% more than the $258 million from March.

China was the largest investor, with $439.3 million in FDI from the nation between July and April of FY24—the greatest amount—as opposed to $604 million during the same period of FY23. In April, China accounted for $177 million of the total investment.

With $51.93 and 51.89 million invested in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Canada came in second and third, respectively.

The power industry was the main draw for foreign investors in FY24, which ran from July to April. This period’s FDI in the power industry was $637.5 million, compared to $776.2 million the previous year. From $338 million to $460 million this year, Hydel Power garnered more attention.

Continue reading: In FY23–24, Pakistan’s per capita income increased to $1680.

According to a separate data released on Wednesday, Pakistanis’ per capita income increased to $1680 in FY2023–2024.

The size of the national economy grew from $341 billion to $375 billion in the current fiscal year, according to figures made public by PBS.

Throughout this fiscal year, Pakistanis’ yearly per capita income increased by Rs 90,534; the monthly rise was Rs 7,544.

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OGRA forbids the purchase or sale of inferior LPG cylinders.

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The 313 LPG marketing and 19 cylinder-producing companies received notices from the OGRA, which described the act of refilling inferior LPGO cylinders as harmful.

Avoid supplying LPG to unlicensed distributors, the OGRA has cautioned LPG marketing companies. Only approved distributors will be able to sell and buy LPG going forward, per the notification, which states that new SOPs have been developed for the LPG industry.

Additionally, the warning said that the decision was made in an effort to preserve both lives and the business in response to an increase in cylinder blast occurrences.

Price reductions of Rs 20 per kilogramme for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were implemented in Quetta on May 3.

There is a reduction of Rs 20 on LPG prices, which means that the price per kilogramme drops from Rs 280 to Rs 260.

The costs of LPG were reduced by Rs 20 per kilogramme earlier, bringing the total decrease to Rs 40 per kilogramme over a few weeks. This is something worth noticing.

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PIA announces a significant student discount.

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According to an airline spokesman, the national flag carrier has recently raised the baggage allowance to 60 kg.

Currently, PIA flies one flight per week on Sundays between Islamabad and Beijing.

The discount may be useful to students who intend to spend their summer vacations in Pakistan or who wish to return home after earning their degrees.

Before, students who wanted to visit China could now receive a 27% reduction on their fares through PIA.

On Eid ul Fitr, the national flag airline also reduced the cost of domestic flights by 20% for both economy and executive economy classes.

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