PM Shehbaz Asks FBR to Create Dashboard to Monitor Digitization

PM Shehbaz Asks FBR to Create Dashboard to Monitor Digitization

Islamabad, July 5, 2024 – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, emphasizing the government’s priority of digitizing the taxation system to prevent tax evasion worth billions of rupees, directed the concerned authorities on Friday to promptly establish a dashboard to monitor the ongoing digitization and the implementation of reforms.

Chairing a meeting to review the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) reform process, Prime Minister Shehbaz instructed the authorities to integrate taxable non-filers into the tax net and revoke the discretionary powers of customs appraisers. He demanded an implementation report from the FBR chairman within 24 hours.

During the briefing on FBR’s digitization, it was revealed that 4.5 million taxable individuals, previously not part of the tax net, have been identified through the digitization process. The meeting was informed that following the government’s initiatives, over 300,000 additional individuals have filed their tax returns within a few weeks. Moreover, refunds of 4,000 companies have been halted over the last two weeks due to the detection of under-invoicing and fraudulent sales tax refunds.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif asserted that tax evaders, along with the officers and staff facilitating them, would face strict punishment. He stressed that those plundering the public treasury would not be spared. Additionally, taxpayers who fulfill their obligations timely would be duly acknowledged.

Prime Minister Shehbaz announced the installation of state-of-the-art scanners at seaports to ensure transparency and curb corruption within the system. He also called for a comprehensive report detailing the extent of tax evasion and measures to prevent it.

Highlighting his commitment to introducing an internationally standard taxation system in Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz called for the engagement of reputed professionals and experts in formulating tax policies. He also sought a comprehensive strategy on FBR’s digitization and reforms, along with set targets for the next meeting.

The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers Muhammad Aurangzeb and Ahad Khan Cheema, Minister of State Ali Pervaiz Malik, PM’s Coordinator Rana Ehsan Afzal, FBR Chairman, CEO of Pakistan Business Council Ehsan Malik, CEO of Karandaz Waqasul Hassan, and other senior officials. Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Naveed Andrabi, Asif Pir, and Ali Malik participated via video link.

The prime minister’s directive to create a dashboard for monitoring digitization represents a significant step towards enhancing the efficiency and transparency of Pakistan’s taxation system. By identifying and integrating millions of taxable individuals who were previously outside the tax net, the government aims to broaden the tax base and ensure a more equitable distribution of the tax burden.

Furthermore, the crackdown on fraudulent activities, such as under-invoicing and forged sales tax refunds, underscores the government’s commitment to combating corruption and ensuring that all taxpayers comply with their obligations. The installation of advanced scanners at seaports is expected to play a crucial role in this regard, preventing illicit activities and promoting a culture of transparency.

Prime Minister Shehbaz’s call for international-standard taxation reforms and the involvement of experts reflects a forward-looking approach, aimed at modernizing the country’s tax administration and aligning it with global best practices. The upcoming comprehensive strategy and set targets for FBR’s digitization will be pivotal in driving these reforms forward.

In conclusion, the government’s focus on digitizing the taxation system, coupled with stringent measures against evasion and corruption, marks a decisive move towards fiscal responsibility and economic stability. The successful implementation of these reforms will not only enhance revenue collection but also foster a more transparent and accountable tax system in Pakistan.