Senate Proposed tax amnesty scheme would generate about Rs 70b,Senate told

Islamabad: The proposed Tax Amnesty Scheme would help generate revenue of about seventy billion rupee and increase the number of taxpayers to around four million.

This information was given by Minister of State for Finance Saleem Mandviwala during question hour in the house Wednesday.

He said a large number of businesses and individuals, who are regularly filing their Income Tax returns are avoiding their legal obligations by either under declaring or not correctly declaring their assets and income.

He said FBR has managed to gain access to the data about multiple bank accounts, travels, assets and other details of non-filers.

The Minister of State said in view of the large number of unregistered and registered non-filers, bill regarding tax amnesty has been placed before the National Assembly and would be in place subject to approval of the Parliament.

He said the tax evaders not availing the scheme shall face major penalties like placement of their names on the Exit Control List, cancellation of their passports and identity cards and seizure of bank accounts.

Replying to a question, Minister of State for Interior Imtiaz Safdar Warraich told the House that 1997 incidents of terrorism took place in the country from January last to March this year in which 1684 people were killed and 4227 others were injured.

He said these incidents included 593 bomb blasts, 306 Improvised Explosive Devices, 252 mine explosions, 187 missile fired, 261 rocket fired, 159 hand grenade attacks, 132 attacks on law enforcement agencies, 58 sectarian killings and 49 suicide attacks.

To another question, he said NADRA will soon resume issuance of Computerized Arms Licenses.

The Minister of State said the issue of holding of local government elections in Islamabad as per orders of the Islamabad High Court is under consideration of the Ministry of Interior in consultations with stakeholders.

Minister for Defence Syed Naveed Qamar told the House that the accumulated losses of PIA which were 42.4 billion till March, 2008 went up to 141.3 billion rupees till September this year.

He said the causes of the losses include inadequate freight, roaring fuel bill, rupee dollar disparity, cash flow problems, repair and maintenance of freight and mismanagement.

Replying to a question, the Minister said PIA intends to launch its operations on four new routes. These are Karachi-Salalah-Karachi; Quetta-Kandhar-Quetta; Karachi-Dubai-Najaf-Karachi and Karachi/Lahore-Barcelona-Chicago.

Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour informed the House that average per month losses of Pakistan Railways stood at over 1.4 billion rupees in 200708 and these have increased to over 2.58 billion rupees this year.

To another question, he said discretionary powers of Chairman Railways, General Managers and Divisional Superintendent to allow free of cost travelling to passengers has been suspended from the beginning of this year due to adverse financial condition of Railways.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira told the House in a written reply that old Turbat Radio Station has been upgraded and shifted to New Broadcasting house.

He said a Radio station was established at Bhit Shah in Sindh during the last five years.