ISLAMABAD): Prime Minister Justice (R) Nasir-ul-Mulk Thursday advised the Ministry of Agriculture for devising a comprehensive plan to address the existing challenges and promote welfare of the farmers, especially the small farmers, so as to make agriculture a vibrant sector of the economy.
The prime minister was briefed about the agriculture sector and various efforts being made by the Ministry of National Food Security & Research to overcome existing challenges and ensure food security in the country, besides increasing the overall contribution of the sector towards the economy.
The prime minister appreciated the ministry and its attached departments for their efforts towards strengthening the agriculture sector, ensuring food security in the country and promoting welfare of the farmers and agriculturists.
He observed that low productivity, high cost of production, water scarcity and weak technology transfer linkages were some of the major challenges that needed immediate attention.
The briefing held here at the Prime Minister Office was attended by Minister for National Food Security & Research (NFS&R) Muhammad Azam Khan, Secretary to Prime Minister Suhail Aamir, Secretary NFS&R Fazal Abbas Maken, PARC Chairman Dr. Yusuf Zafar and senior officials.
The Secretary NFS&R while briefing the prime minister said the agricultural sector was contributing 18.9% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and employing 42.3% of the total labor force.
It was informed that the growth rate of agriculture sector was recorded at 3.8% last year as compared to average rate of 2.13% during past five years. The secretary also briefed the prime minister about various aspects of the National Food Security Policy that aimed at achieving food security, promotion of sustainable food production systems and poverty alleviation.
Pakistan improves mechanism to handle AML/CFT issues
ISLAMABAD: The Finance Minister, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar said Friday that the Finance Ministry has improved institutional mechanisms for handling Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) issues.
Chairing a meeting here Friday in the wake of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary meeting in Paris, the Minister expressed Pakistan’s strong resolve to keep up efforts on the counter financing of terrorism.
Foreign Minister, Abdullah Hussain Haroon and National Security Advisor Lt. General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, were also present on the occasion.
She added that the coordination between Central Bank, banking institutions, and law enforcement agencies have also been strengthened to curb money laundering and terror financing.
She invited participants to share their views and suggestions to further strengthen measures and put in place a strong implementation mechanism in this regard.
The participants while underscoring Pakistan’s resolve to further strengthen the AML/CFT regime emphasized and agreed on the formation of a high-level implementation committee to regularly oversee progress made by different agencies and departments engaged in the drive to counter financing of terrorism.
The meeting stressed inter-governmental cooperation as well as inter-agencies coordination for better results. The meeting was also briefed on the preparations by Pakistan’s delegation scheduled to attend FATF meeting at Paris.
Tax Amnesty Scheme receives good response
ISLAMABAD: Tax Amnesty Scheme was receiving encouraging results and its success would help to resolve the current account deficit and balance of payment issues.
This was stated by a spokesman of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Dr. Muhammad Iqbal on Friday while addressing a press conference here at FBR House. Muhammad Iqbal said the number of beneficiaries under tax amnesty scheme was increasing everyday.
He said under the scheme, the people could benefit by declaring their domestic and foreign assets as they would have to pay only a nominal tax under the scheme. To a question, the spokesman said the last date of the scheme was June 30 and he did not have any authority to extend the last date of the scheme.
Iqbal said keeping in view the benefits of tax amnesty scheme, the caretaker set up was also fully committed to ensuring the success of the scheme. He said government, as well as public representatives, were not eligible to take benefit from the scheme while people involved in different crimes were also not allowed to benefit from it.
Senate body discusses tax relief in FATA, Malakand
ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs on Friday discussed tax exemption for commercial enterprises in Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), Provincially Administered Area (PATA) and Malakand Division.
The meeting of the committee was held here today under the chairmanship of Senator Farooq H. Naek and was attended by Senators Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, Muhammad Akram, Mohsin Aziz, Dilawar Khan, Khanzada Khan, Aurangzeb Khan, senior officers from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Ministry of Finance.
Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Senator Fida Muhammad, and Senator Shamim Afridi were specially invited for their valuable input regarding issues that came under discussion with regards to the people of FATA, PATA and Malakand Division.
The meeting commenced with consideration of a point of public importance raised by Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi regarding utilization of Zakat Funds in the education and health sectors and details that revealed disbursement of those funds to FATA. However, the matter was deferred since secretary ministry of Finance was not present. The Committee took strict notice of this matter.
While discussing the issue of exemption to pensioners from filing tax returns on the public petition of Major (R) Ghulam Abbas, the Committee questioned Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, Member IR Policy FBR of the circumstances under which pensioners are taxed. He revealed that under FBR rules, pensioners are not taxed unless they possess taxable movable or immovable property; or if they accept other employment after retirement.
He further stated that the petitioner was not included in the tax list. Chairman Committee, expressed satisfaction and disposed off the petition; issuing directions for the petitioner to be informed of the decision.