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Asad Umar lauds National Financial Inclusion Strategy

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Saturday chaired a meeting of the Economic Advisory Council’s (EAC) Sub-Groups on National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and Fiscal Sector in Islamabad.

The meeting was attended by all major stakeholders and members of the sub-group from the Ministry of Finance, State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue and Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa presented a National Financial Inclusion Strategy to improve quality and increase access to financial services in Pakistan.

He outlined targets and necessary policy actions to be taken at various levels in the coming years to achieve these targets.

The discussion revolved around fast-tracking digitization of financial services to reach out larger number of consumers, small and medium business and newly emerging entrepreneurs throughout country.

The minister appreciated the strategy and emphasized on diligently time-lining the goals, targets and actions to be taken, and cautioned against delaying the implementation process of the strategy.

In the fiscal policy sub-group meeting, FBR representatives gave a presentation on the problems currently ailing tax administration system in Pakistan, and ad-hoc-ism of tax policy; it was noted that these issues consequently lead to low tax collection contributing to massive fiscal imbalances.

The Sub-groups also considered solutions to fix crippling tax system of Pakistan by recommending policy measures targeting two major areas, tax administration and tax policy. It was noted that information technology had a greater role in getting more and more people into tax net, and spotting tax-avoiders.

Also coherent and continuous coordination among the federal government and the provincial governments is of paramount importance in avoiding incidence of double-taxation.

Asad Umar issued directives for setting timelines of various proposed administrative and policy reforms so that the huge fiscal burden facing our economy is reduced to minimal possible level and the government gets much needed fiscal space.

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