Nation special report
LONDON: Taking exceptions on certain clauses of the federal budget announced on Friday (27th April), the overseas Pakistanis have expressed their reservations which economic experts termed genuine and valid.
To express these apprehensions and reservations, the World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis (WCOP) organised a press conference at the Jinnah Auditorium in east London on Monday (14th April) and portrayed the concerns of the overseas Pakistanis on some of the clauses introduced in the Federal Budget 2018.
Talking to the media persons, Chairman WCOP Syed Qamar Raza said that the overseas Pakistanis are worried about the proposed changes in the budget. We have been getting calls and emails pointing out these clauses which are obviously contrary to their interests.
“Overseas Pakistanis are contributing a lot in country’s economy by transmitting billions of rupees but their genuine interests are being ignored. This is not justice.
Investors are particularly puzzled as they pay significant amount of tax in their respective countries so it is imperative to find out the solution and avoid discouraging the foreign direct investment in Pakistan”, he emphasised.
Arif Anis Malik, Executive Director of World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis explained the background of the issue.’Pakistan has one of the lowest tax to GDP ratio and tax authorities are desperate to bring non filers to the tax net. However, any such move that binds the Overseas Pakistanis is bound to backfire as it will make their tax management complicated.’ Barrister Gul Nawaz Khan, head of WCOP Press & Communication Wing termed the introduction of the clauses as’ counter-productive’. ‘We have been getting scores of calls and emails and expatriates are not happy.
They already face a plethora of issues. Qabza group, delayed justice in the courts and the recent amendments will further deter them from considering Pakistan as a place of choice for investment purposes’. “Keeping the interest of overseas Pakistanis especially the investors and traders community, Pakistan Government should delete those clauses which are against their interests”, he demanded. Ahsan Malik, General Secretary of Realtor Association of Pakistan also supported the narrative. ‘There is huge amount of confusion in the property market. Business is slowing down.
There is some scaremongering in the wake of the budget. We already spoke to the advisor to the prime minister and hoping it to be resolved before the passage of the budget’.
The WCOP office holders invited the federal minister for revenue Rana Afzal Khan from Islamabad to join the press conference through a video link. Khan listened to the concerns patiently and answered the questions from the journalists. ‘I must clarify there is no move under consideration to bar the Overseas Pakistanis from buying property or invest in Pakistan.
This particular arrangement was proposed for non-filersin Pakistan. However, it did generate some confusion and we are grateful to World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis for raising it on suitable forums. I am happy to announce that we are working out separate definitions in case of the Overseas Pakistanis and this confusion would be cleared up before the finance act 2018 is passed’. The federal minister profusely appreciated the services of WCOP in resolving the issue.