Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar has urged the Economic Advisory Council’s (EAC) Sub-Groups to expedite recommendations.

The finance minister was chairing a meeting on (EAC’s Sub-Groups on “National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS)” and “Fiscal Sector” held at the Ministry of Finance on Saturday. The meeting was attended by all major stakeholders/ members of the sub-group from Ministry of Finance, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

SBP Governor Tariq Bajwa, presented National Financial Inclusion Strategy to improve quality and increase access to financial services in Pakistan. He outlined targets and necessitating policy actions to be taken at various levels in coming years to achieve the targets. Discussion revolved around fast-tracking the digitization of financial services to reach out larger number of consumers, small and medium business and newly emerging entrepreneurs throughout country.

Asad Umar appreciated the Financial Inclusion Strategy and emphasized on diligently time-lining the goals, targets and actions to be taken, and cautioned against delaying the implementation process of the strategy.

In the fiscal policy sub-group meeting, FBR representatives made a presentation on the problems currently ailing tax administration system in Pakistan, and ad-hoc-ism of tax policy; it was noted that these issues consequently lead to low tax collection contributing to massive fiscal imbalances. The Sub-groups also considered solutions to fix crippling tax system of Pakistan by recommending policy measures targeting two major areas, tax administration and tax policy. It was noted that information technology held greater promise in getting more and more people into tax net and spotting tax-avoiders. Also coherent and continuous coordination among provinces and between federal government and provincial governments is of paramount importance in avoiding incidence of double-taxation.

The finance minister appreciated the work done by the groups which was assisted by the senior FBR officers and directed for setting timelines to various administrative and policy reforms suggested so that the huge fiscal burden facing our economy is reduced to minimal possible level and the government gets much needed fiscal space.

Meanwhile, during the meeting FBR chairman informed the minister that to uphold the spirit of transparency and easing the relations between the tax payers and FBR, the board is starting an awareness campaign to let the people know how their tax money is being utilized.