The Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Statistics recommended to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Wednesday to waive off General Sales Tax (GST) on all household electricity bills.
Terming the sales tax on household electricity bills unjustified, Senator Col (r) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said that the majority of people belonging to poor and lower middle classes were already paying huge indirect taxes in the form of GST and other taxes so they should be given relief in electricity bills.
The meeting of the committee was chaired by Senator Saleem H Mandviwala.
Tahir Mashhadi suggested to the FBR to raise their direct taxes by collecting taxes from the wealthy on their huge income and providing maximum relief to the common man by rationalising what he said unjustified GST ratio of 17 per cent.
FBR Chairman Nisar Muhammad Khan informed the committee that the government had taken numerous initiatives for bringing reforms in the taxation system.
He said that in order to bring maximum people into the tax net, the government had also imposed withholding tax of 0.4 per cent on banking transactions of over Rs 50,000 from non-tax payers.
He informed the committee that the ratio of direct taxes had also increased from 38 per cent three years ago to 41 per cent now due to the tax reforms initiated by the current government.
Discussing the agenda item regarding the decrease of profit rates on the national saving schemes, Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood informed the committee that the profit rates on national saving schemes were reduced by the government due to the reduced policy rates by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
However, he pointed out that the government was still offering higher rates on its saving schemes compared to the market rate.
He said that 9.12 per cent profit rate was being offered on Behbood and Pensioners schemes.
Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that saving schemes are beneficial for the government so the people should not be discouraged from investing in the saving schemes by reducing profit rates.