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Academicians appreciate Finance Minister going ahead with tobacco tax reforms

The researchers and the scholars say that there is a great need to implement the recommendations of the IMF regarding tax reforms.

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Islamabad:  It is encouraging that Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb gave out hope to the masses that the country could get $3 billion package from International Monitory Fund (IMF) considered to be vital for sustenance of falling economy, lauded the academicians on Monday.

Dr. Aftab Madni, dean of the Indus University, however, underlined the need to implement the recommendations of the IMF regarding tax reforms in a true spirit.

 “Pick and choose wouldn’t help the reform process” he said.

He stressed that the IMF has explicitly recommended that there has to be uniformed tax on cigarettes regardless of their national or multinational brand. This alone will generate revenue in billions.

He said cigarette is a non-essential item and the government wouldn’t face any public backlash if it moves ahead as per IMF recommendations.

He said that about 9 percent of Pakistanis are smokers and the volume of second-hand smoking still has to be explored. The cigarettes need to be made expensive in any case. 

It causes disease and deaths that have to be accounted for.

He appreciated Dr. Hassan Shehzad from International Islamic University Islamabad, for being the only researcher whose report has been referred to by the IMF in its recommendations for tax reforms.

He said that the report has clearly established a link between consumption and affordability. 

Dr Shehzad quoted the minister as saying, "The country’s current $3 billion arrangement with the fund runs out in late April and the government is seeking a long-term and bigger loan to help bring permanence to macroeconomic stability as well as an umbrella under which the country can execute much-needed structural reforms."

He added that reports have mentioned that cigarette industry is responsible for a loss of Rs567 billion to the national exchequer in less than a decade.

He said that the finance minister has a profound background in banking and it is normal for a banker to understand the volume of losses a product injurious to human health can cause.

Imposing uniformed tax on tobacco products is too little and too late, he said, but it has to be done. Dr Shehzad is a leading researcher in the country with an impact on policy making.

 

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Pakistan

Interior Minister Naqvi meets his Iranian counterpart Vahidi

The leaders of both the countries hold discussions around security cooperation, counterterrorism efforts, smuggling and border management.

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Islamabad: Federal Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi met with Iranian counterpart Dr. Ahmad Vahidi and Iranian Law Minister Amin Hussein Rahimi.

During the meeting between the leaders of both countries, discussions revolved around security cooperation, counterterrorism efforts, smuggling, and border management.

The meeting also delved into detailed discussions on various matters, including facilitation for Pakistani visitors in Iran, as well as the exchange of prisoners.

Minister Mohsin Naqvi remarked that the visit of the Iranian President to Pakistan holds immense significance for bilateral relations. He extended a warm welcome to the Iranian President and his delegation on behalf of the Pakistani nation.

 

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Pakistan

Iranian President Raisi to visit Lahore tomorrow

The latest reports say that the Punjab which has announced local holiday in connection with the visit is all set for high-level meetings.

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Lahore: Iranian President Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, currently on a three-day visit to Pakistan, is scheduled to arrive in Lahore today. During his visit, he will engage with Punjab's top leadership, including Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman and Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, as well as interact with business representatives and traders.

In anticipation of President Raisi's delegation, the Punjab government has declared a local holiday for Lahore district and its subordinate offices. However, the holiday does not extend to the Punjab Civil Secretariat, its attached departments, or regional offices.

President Raisi, who arrived in Islamabad on Monday, has already conducted significant meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, and other dignitaries. His Lahore itinerary will also include engagements with provincial cabinet ministers, senior officials, and department heads, all under strict security measures.

Following his visit to Lahore, President Raisi will proceed to Karachi, where he will pay homage to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah at his mausoleum.

 

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