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Incoming govt to ‘endorse’ caretaker’s economic initiatives: Solangi

ISLAMABAD (PEN) : Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi on Saturday said that the incoming government, which will come into power after the general elections scheduled to be held on February 8, will “endorse economic initiatives” taken by the interim setup.

Addressing international media in a press conference, Solangi said that the economic initiatives taken by the interim government were taken in the background of SIFC (Special Investment Facilitation Council), which was approved by the outgoing parliament.

“So it has the cover of the parliament,” he said. “And the same political forces would return in the parliament with whatever ratio people decide in terms of their priority. But, the same political forces that endorsed these economic initiatives are about to return to parliament in a few days.

“So I have full faith that these economic initiatives will continue, and our relationship with our partners in the Gulf and elsewhere, including China would deepen,” said Solangi.

He said that in the last five months, Pakistan has stabilised economically.

Solangi said that the SIFC and the cabinet approved economic reforms related to tax policy and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

“But those changes will take place after we make some amendments in the FBR and Customs Act, and that is the domain of the parliament.

“So we will carry and forward those recommendations to the next parliament, and we are hopeful that these will be approved because they are in the greater interest of Pakistan and its economic future,” he said.

On Friday, the Apex Committee of the SIFC approved FBR reforms and Strategic Canals Vision 2030.

Earlier, the caretaker federal cabinet approved the reorganisation and digitisation of the FBR after the recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee.

Under these reforms, the Federal Tax Policy Board will be formed in the Revenue Division, which will be responsible for the formulation of tax policy in the country, determination of revenue targets and cooperation between stakeholders. The Federal Policy Board will be headed by the federal finance minister.

As a result of the restructuring, Customs and Inland Revenue will be headed, separately, by Director Generals of the respective cadre.

The respective Director Generals would have complete authority over the administrative, financial and operational matters of their respective departments. Both the Director Generals will ensure the implementation of international best practices in terms of digitization, grievance redressal and transparency of their respective `departments.

There will be separate oversight Boards for Customs and Inland Revenue. Federal secretaries of finance, revenue, commerce, chairman NADRA, and experts from related fields will be the members of each board while the finance minister will be its head.

Meanwhile, the caretaker information minister, on Saturday, said that these measures would also stabilise rupee-dollar parity.

“When the caretaker setup took over the charge, the official interbank rate of a US dollar was Rs296. Whereas, in the open-market we couldn’t find a US dollar for Rs350-400, and there was speculation that it could go to Rs500.”

“However, because of the administrative measures and efficient working of the government systems, we have stabilised the economy and the currency,” he said.