ISLAMABAD - Showing concerns over the new taxes, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Tuesday asked the government to take approval from the Parliament whenever it requires imposing new taxes for generating additional revenue.

The committee members expressed their reservations over the imposition of new taxes by the government during the last two months. They were of the view that the government due to its inability imposed taxes worth billions of rupees sans approval of the Parliament.

Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Tariq Bajwa defended the government’s measures of enhancing taxes on hundreds of commodities without approval of the Parliament, as he said that the Constitution of the country allowed the government to increase taxes when required. Under the article 7 of the Constitution, ‘state’ is defined to include, besides the Parliament, any local or other authorities in Pakistan as are by law empowered to impose any tax or cess. This article suggests that the tax can be imposed pursuant to the powers conferred by Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) by an authority other than the Parliament, he added.

He said the government had imposed the additional taxes on the luxury items, furnace oil, mobile phone, cold rolled coils and metal scrap in order to recover some part of the anticipated revenue loss. The government has estimated to face Rs68 billion revenue loss due to the declining oil prices in the country. However, the government would recover Rs28 billion by enhancing General Sales Tax on petroleum products to 27 percent from 17 percent.

The FBR chairman further informed that the government has withdrawn the additional GST imposed on the petroleum products this month, providing relief to the people; otherwise the prices would increase, he added. He told the committee that India has increased the POL prices at least four times after major cut in the world oil prices.

Speaking in the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, which met under the chair of Omar Ayub Khan, the FBR chairman said the government has recently imposed five percent regulatory duty on the luxury items.

He further said the government levied five percent RD on furnace oil, metal scarp, cold rolled coils and galvanised platted.

Bajwa informed that revised revenue collection target for the ongoing financial year is Rs2691 billion, which would be achieved. The government is facing revenue collection shortfall due to the cases stuck in different courts, which would be cleared, he hoped.

Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood said the government would decide to revise the budget deficit target during fourth quarter of the ongoing fiscal year. The government would achieve the target of 4.9 percent of the GDP, as it is expecting to generate revenue from cess and privatisation of public sector entities. He said the government has not decided yet to review the public sector development programme. The government would soon issue the coin of ten rupees.

The committee also considered Public Sector Development Programme presented by the Finance Ministry as required in terms of the Rule 201 (1), Rules of Procedure and conduct of business in the National Assembly, 2007. The committee discussed the projects one by one and expressed its satisfaction on the projects i.e. automation of Central Directorate of National Savings Phase-II, institutional strengthening of Finance Division and Capacity building MIS development and institutional strengthening of Pakistan Mint Lahore.

However, the committee has showed its dissatisfaction on the projects Public Sector enterprises reforms projects. The committee considered PSDP of statistics division and decided to visit the statistics office on 10th of this month.

The National Assembly committee also discussed the planned merger of district Jhang National Bank of Pakistan region with Faisalabad zone. The committee directed the Senior Vice Present of NBP to resolve the issues with the consultation of members of the Parliament belonging to district Jhang.