Petrol price hiked by Rs2, HSD by Rs2.70 per litre

Deadline for filing income tax returns extended till Dec 15

ISLAMABAD: While announcing the government’s decision to hike petrol and high speed diesel (HSD) prices by Rs2 and Rs2.70 per litre respectively with effect from December 1, 2016 (today), Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Wednesday that they expected to generate Rs100 billion tax revenue with regularisation of property transaction scheme during the current fiscal against collection of Rs9 billion last year.

The minister also said the government had chalked out a strategy to take strict action against those who are involved in smuggling gold and currency. “We have issued instructions to all relevant departments,” said Ishaq Dar while talking to reporters here on Wednesday night. Regarding an expansion in the federal cabinet, Dar said it was the prerogative of the prime minister to take a decision on this matter. The minister also announced to extend the deadline for filing of income tax returns till December 15, 2016.

Against the recommendations of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), the government decided to pass on 50 percent hike to consumers while the remaining 50 percent will be absorbed by the government for December, 2016. “Ogra had recommended hiking petrol prices by Rs4 per litre and HSD by Rs5.42 per litre but the government decided to increase the petrol prices by Rs2 per litre and HSD by Rs2.7 per litre. The government had to bear a loss of Rs4 billion by not passing on full increase in the petroleum prices,” the minister said.

The prices of kerosene oil and light diesel oil remained unchanged. The new prices  will become effective from December 1, 2016 (today) as the new petrol price will be standing at Rs66.27 per litre, HSD Rs75.22, kerosene oil Rs43.25 per litre and light diesel Rs43.34 per litre.

The prices of HOBC will be adjusted as recommended by Ogra. Referring to the ECC decision, the minister said that the government decided to import RON92 and its imports started reaching the country from December 2016. Now the GST on petrol stands at Rs8.40 per litre, HSD Rs17.80 per litre, kerosene oil 85 paisa and light diesel Rs1.6 per litre.

The minister said the government decided to extend the deadline for filing income tax returns up to December 15, 2016 as the earlier extended deadline expired on November 30, 2016. Against returns of 400,000 received last year so far, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has received over 600,000 returns till November 30, 2016, he added.

He said that the National Assembly passed property valuation regularisation scheme in order to bridge difference between DC valuation and FBR notified rates. He said that the government could set timeframe for availing this scheme. 

The minister said that total size of property sector stood at around Rs4 trillion to Rs60 trillion so it depends that how much people come forward to avail this scheme. “We expect that the FBR can generate tax collection of Rs100 billion this year against collection of Rs9 billion last year,” he added.

Dispelling the impression about property amnesty scheme, the minister said that it was not general amnesty and it would accommodate the genuine demands of the property sector to rectify the increased valuation done by the FBR in the range of 200 percent to 1,000 percent. 

By paying certain taxes, he said, the tax authorities would not raise question on difference of valuation rate between DC rates and FBR’s notified rates. He said that action would be taken against forex and bullion smuggling which is detrimental to the interest of Pakistan. He said that action will also be taken against those who are behind this illegal practice.

He directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Custom Intelligence and State Bank of Pakistan to keep strict vigilance in this regard and all airports and other entry points should be kept under strict surveillance to curb this menace of currency and bullion smuggling.

He again dispelled the rumours about the demonisation of Rs5,000 currency notes, withdrawal of Rs40,000 prize bonds and freezing of lockers which are being spread by the vested interests to harm the economy of the country. He further said that as clarified earlier, there is no such proposal under consideration of the government.