Turnover tax on some foreign firms may go

ISLAMABAD, April 9: The government is considering to remove 0.5 per cent turnover tax on some foreign companies to help expand their investment in Pakistan.

Informed sources told Dawn here on Wednesday that Minister for Privatization and Investment Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh assured Chief Executive Officer of Total Parco Pakistan Limited Mr. Bernard Pinnoy that the government was sympathetically considering to remove 0.5 per cent turnover tax on some companies including Total Parco.

Sources said that the federal minister was informed by the CEO that his company was facing financial problems which needed to be reduced by removing 0.5 per cent turnover tax on it.

Mr Pinnoy said that his company was facing unnecessary additional burden of taxes. Earlier, the government had offered this exemption of turnover tax to Shell, Caltex and Pakistan State Oil (PSO).

Sources said that the CEO told the minister that his company had so far invested $600 million in Pakistan and that it would consider more investment, provided some relief was offered to it.

Initially, he assured that his company would make $10 million new investment in Pakistan. He said Total company planned to increase the number of its petrol pumps from 40 to 65 by the end of this year, providing 1,000 more jobs to the people. He also talked about various issues concerning the Central Board of Revenue (CBR).

Dr Hafeez told Mr Pinnoy that the government was trying to create congenial atmosphere for promoting investment. He said various hurdles currently being faced by the foreign investors will be removed in the next budget.

Sources said the minister quoted Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali as having said that all kinds of hurdles and irritants being experienced by the investors should be done away with.

Dr Hafeez said that various task forces including those of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad were currently collecting the details of various impediments and problems which were hampering foreign investment.

He said investment policy will be further improved by discussing with the authorities of the finance ministry and the CBR.

Sources said Chairman Board of Investment (BoI) Waseem Haqqie was also present on the occasion.

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