Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said on Saturday there must be a ‘Charter of Economy’ like ‘Charter of Democracy’ so as to ensure continuity of policies in the interest of the country. “There ought to be no politics on economic issues and politics and economy should be separate fields,” he said talking to media after the MoU signing ceremony between the University of Health Sciences (UHS) and Sheikh Zayed Medical Complex (SZMC). Dar said the PML-N government successfully convinced the opposition over the issue of privatisation of PIA.
“The opposition including PTI can understand the situation now while the PPP has requested for two days time and hopefully bill on PIA will be approved in the next joint sitting of the parliament on April 11,” he said brushing aside the impression created through media that PIA’s hotels were being sold out.
When asked about LNG agreement with Qatar, the finance minister said the LNG was purchased on a very low and reasonable price while issues regarding settling local price of the product would be resolved with the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) amicably. “Voluntarily Tax Compliance Scheme (VTCS)is for traders, however, some traders have reservations over it; hence, the scheme has been extended for a month,” he said admitting that less than 10,000 returns had so far been filed under this scheme. He said the government extended the last date for filing of tax returns for non-filers from March 31 to April 30 under Voluntarily Tax Compliance Scheme (VTCS).
He said the withholding tax (WHT) on bank transactions would also be at 0.4 per cent up to the new deadline. He said that the government had decided to keep the rate at 0.4 per cent in April and not to increase it up to 0.6 per cent. Dar said that summary regarding appointment of chairman OGRA has been received and the new chairman OGRA would be appointed by April 15. When asked about price hike, he said it is responsibility of the provincial government to take steps for checking price hike.
Ishaq Dar also chaired a meeting of Hospital Trust during that was informed that ‘Nawaz Sharif Kidney Hospital Swat’ was completed at a cost of Rs 1.75 billion to facilitate people of Swat. The finance minister said Nawaz Sharif Kidney Hospital must be made functional by the end of this month. He said the hospital was equipped with all the modern facilities and the people of Swat and other parts of the KPK would receive standard medical treatment there.
Meanwhile, chairing a meeting of Religious Affairs Committee of Data Darbar, Ishaq Dar directed the officials concerned to remove encroachments around the shrine to facilitate the visitors. He also reviewed security arrangements at Data Darbar, installation of new sewerage system in the vicinity and ghusal ceremony and other matters.