PM directs formulation of proposal to cut govt spending, reform economic structure

Mar 5, 2024

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday directed the authorities concerned to formulate proposals for reducing government expenditures and overhauling the country’s economic structure.

He also directed to immediately initiate the process of complete digitization and automation of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), which he himself would oversee.

Chairing a high level meeting at the Prime Minister House soon after his return from Gwadar, PM Shehbaz said that the world’s best model should be adopted for the digitization of FBR to ensure transparency in its system, increase tax collection, halt tax evasion, corruption and smuggling, and also to bring convenience to the general public and the business community.

The large taxpayers and the best performance officers of the FBR would be encouraged and the black sheep would be brought to justice, he added.

FBR Chairman Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana briefed the meeting about the steps taken to enhance tax collection; refunds’ payment to the exporters; expanding the tax net; automation process; stopping tax evasion, institutional corruption and smuggling; and provision of quality services to the people.

The prime minister, expressing dissatisfaction over the briefing, directed to immediately initiate process of complete digitization and automation of the FBR as per the international standards.

“We should go ahead by learning lessons from the past as nothing can be changed by merely lamenting the mistakes,” he said. “We have to take up the challenge and find a way out to steer the country out of the debt trap.”

He said that the country had no dearth of capable people. “If we start our journey now, we can ultimately achieve the goal of prosperity and development.”

PM Shehbaz announced that efficient, honest and professional officers would be rewarded.

He also directed that efficient officers should be deployed in the track and trace system.

He said the Ministry of Interior would work with full force to stop smuggling for which the Pakistan Army would also support it fully.

Appreciating former caretaker finance minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar, secretary finance Imdad Ullah Bosal and their team, the prime minister said they had further cemented the foundation which his government had laid to save Pakistan from default, with great efforts and shown good progress.

Addressing Dr Shamshad Akhtar, the prime minister said that he was very impressed with her merit policy.

The FBR chairman said that during the current financial year, target for bringing 1.5 million more taxpayers into the tax net was on track.

He said that legislation had been made for digitizing invoicing. The prime minister directed for its immediate implementation.

The meeting was also attended by Senator Musadik Malik, Ata Ullah Tarrar, Ali Pervaiz Malik, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Rumina Khursheed Alam, Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, Ahad Cheema, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Jehanzaib, Governor State Bank of Pakistan and other high officials.