September 25, 2020

The IMF delegation, which is currently reviewing the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF), has been requested to relax the economic targets set under the program. The Parliamentarians on Wednesday opposed several policies being implemented under the program and said that the policies are choking the businesses in the country and hence the revenue collection is also being negatively affected.

The members from both houses said that the initiatives need to be relaxed to minimize the difficulties being faced by the people. The Senate Standing Committee on Finance Chairperson Farooq H. Naik said that the IMF delegation repeatedly said that the program is government’s own program and not the IMF’s and they should not blame the IMF for their problems.

Naik said that the main concern right now is the government’s step to centralize the sales tax on services and it is against the constitution. He said that the 18th amendment gave the provinces the authority to collect that tax and the revenue would be at the disposal of the provinces. If the government centralizes the tax collection then it would become a federally controlled entity and that would be against the constitution. The government had previously proposed plans to centralize the sales tax collection and replace the FBR with a centralized ‘Pakistan Revenue Authority’ and the plan has already been approved by the PM.

He added that, “If this is done, or the IMF gives it a priority and presses for it or the government accepts it, it would be a violation of the constitution and will undermine the rights of the provinces”.

Muhammad Asad

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