Budget 2014-15: ‘Govt to give serious thought to FBR proposals’

* Dar says government will assist AJK overcome financial deficit

ISLAMABAD: Government has to give serious thought to the proposals by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for upcoming annual budget 2014-15. 
Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Thursday chairing a meeting to review budget process directed the FBR members to simplify the procedures involved in filing returns and incentives be given to the return filers as compared to the non-filers.
Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa briefed Dar on the proposals suggested by the chambers, industry representatives and professional bodies. 
Simplifying tax reporting would facilitate the taxpayers, so people prefer to pay taxes rather than evading tax process.
Members FBR, adviser to the Finance Ministry Rana Assad Amin and senior officials of the FBR and Finance Ministry attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, Dar said that the federal government will assist and help the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to overcome the financial deficit and a future roadmap will be drawn with the help of AJK government.
Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Thursday assured this to Ch Abdul Majid Prime Minister of AJK during a meeting on Thursday.
During the course of meeting, Majid mentioned about the financial issues, which the AJK government was currently facing. He said the AJK government has maintained fiscal discipline to a maximum level. 
Education and health facilities need to be financed after reconstruction of buildings by Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA). He said due to non-availability of funds, health and education staff could not be appointed to these facilities. He highlighted meagre resources of AJK for allocation to Public Sector Development Projects.
Upon this, Dar briefed PM AJK on the economic performance of the government and assured him the federal government would assist and help to overcome the financial deficit.
Dar directed the Finance Secretary to hold a separate meeting with the Chief Secretary and Finance Secretary AJK to help resolve the budgetary issues.
He said in the last eleven months, structural reforms were introduced with total commitment and hard work. He said as a result of these reforms, the government had to take some painful decisions to fix the economy and now the economy was in much better shape. Growth is moving up whereas deficit has been restricted to single digit, he added. He mentioned about the achievements made in restoring the confidence of the International Finance Institutions (IFIs).
Dar also informed the AJK Prime Minister the federal government was pursuing the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to connect Islamabad to Muzaffarabad through a railway link. The project will cost Rs 60 billion and we have an equal priority and sentiments for development projects of AJK. He concluded our hearts beat with the people of Kashmir.
Ch Latif Akbar Minister for Finance of AJK, federal Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood, Chief Secretary AJK Khizer Hayat Gondal, Finance Secretary AJK Yousuf Khan and senior officials of Finance Ministry and AJK government were also present in the meeting. 

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