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Govt mulls slapping up to 70% Windfall Tax on banking sector’s lofty profits

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  • Sources says govt considering slapping fixed tax rate between 50%- 70%. 
  • Govt determining exact levels of profits extracted through recent currency manipulation by banks.
  • Officials working on proposal studied Windfall Tax imposed by UK, Austria, Italy, Australia and other countries.

ISLAMABAD: The government is considering slapping a Windfall Tax on the profits of the banking sector in the range of 50% to 70% similar to the one used in the West, which imposed the same tax on energy companies, reported The News on Friday.

“Different proposals are under consideration for imposing the Windfall Tax on profits earned by the banking sector. A fixed tax rate from 50% to 70% is expected to be slapped for getting revenues out of the lofty profits earned by the banks,” officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the publication.

However, sources in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said that the proposal is yet to be approved by the government though Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had hinted in his press briefing on Wednesday that the government would move ahead with the Windfall Tax on the banking sector.

The government is ascertaining the exact levels of windfall profits extracted by the banking sector through recent currency manipulation. The policymakers may slap a tax at a rate whereby there is no threat of choking the banking sector.

The tax officials who are working on this proposal studied the Windfall Tax imposed by the United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Australia and other countries whereby the energy companies had earned lofty profits in the aftermath of Russia-Ukraine war, so the respective governments had imposed the Windfall Tax to generate revenue. Even the Biden administration in the USA had threatened to impose Windfall Tax.

The recent energy crisis across Europe as a result of COVID-19, poor market decisions and the Ukraine war have pushed energy prices to all-time high. 

Countries across Europe were moving to build up reserves in the face of restricted gas supplies to minimise the effects of a cold winter. At the same time, some governments were even considering country-wide blackouts and energy rationing to ensure that, at the very least, there was enough gas to heat homes.

“The government expects that in case of imposition of 50% to 70% fixed tax rate on lofty bank profits, the government can fetch Rs25 to Rs35 billion revenue generation,” said one official.

On the proposed Flood Levy, the government might grant an exemption on import of basic food items and raw materials of essential or life-saving drugs. 

The levy could be in the range of 1% to 3% on all other imported items. It is estimated that the government can fetch Rs60 billion in the remaining six months of the current fiscal year 2022-23.

Sources said the government will prefer the Flood Levy because it will not become a part of the Federal Divisible Pool (FDP) under the NFC Award for distribution among the provinces, so the collected money will only be used by the federal government.

On the other hand, the FBR seeks to meet the annual tax collection target of Rs7,470 billion for the current fiscal year and has so far collected Rs3,428 billion in the first six months (July-Dec) period. 

Now the tax authorities will have to collect Rs4,042 billion for materialising the desired tax collection target till June 30, 2022.

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Tourism boom: During Eidul Azha, more than 400,000 people travel to KP

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Over 400,000 people travelled to several beautiful locations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa between June 17 and June 19, celebrating the recently ended Eidul Azha festivities.

With over 174,000 visitors in one day, Naran Kaghan emerged as the most popular location. Visitors looking for a getaway from the city are still drawn to Naran Kaghan’s calm scenery and charming valleys.

A total of 162,000 visitors to Galiyat took in the city’s rich history at its cultural institutions and historical landmarks. In addition, more than 46,000 people visited Malam Jabba in Swat, and 23,000 people visited Upper Dir to take in its stunning surroundings.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is becoming a popular domestic vacation destination due to its unique combination of natural beauty, cultural legacy, and adventure options, as seen by the rise in visitor numbers.

Businesses and local government agencies have been collaborating to make sure tourists have an unforgettable time while appropriately handling the inflow.

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Pakistan currently has $14.41 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

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In a statement, the central bank stated that as of June 14, 2024, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) stood at $9.135 billion, following the increase.

The announcement also stated, “SBP reserves increased by US$ 31 million to US$ 9,134.7 million during the week ended on June 14, 2024.”

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) stated that the nation had $14.415 billion in total liquid foreign reserves. Commercial banks own $5.28 billion of the total in net foreign reserves.

It was announced earlier on June 13 that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves reached US$14.38 billion, up US$168 million in the first week of June.

Pakistan’s reserves held by commercial banks rose by US$174 million to $5.28 billion for the week that ended on June 7, according to a statement released by the central bank.

The SBP now has US$9.10 billion in reserves, down US$6.2 million from before. The central bank did not provide an explanation for why its reserves fell.

“SBP reserves decreased by US$ 6 million to US$ 9,103.3 million during the week ended on July 7, 2024,” the SBP said in a statement.

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In a first for history, PSX crosses the 77,000 milestone.

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At 77,213.31, the benchmark KSE-100 hit an all-time high, up 1,005.15, or 1.32%, from the previous close of 76,208.16.

The government’s readiness to seal an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the budget was cited by analysts as the reason for the upward trend.

Experts anticipate that in an attempt to bolster its position for a fresh bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2025 would set aggressive fiscal goals.

Budget for Pakistan, 2024–2025
Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–25, with a total expenditure of Rs18.877 trillion, was presented on Wednesday by Minister of Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, outlined the budget highlights. He stated that the GDP growth target for the fiscal year 2024–25 is set at 3.6 percent, while the inflation rate is anticipated to stay at 12 percent.

He stated that while the primary surplus is anticipated to be 1.0 percent of GDP during the review period, the budget deficit to GDP is forecast to be 6.9 percent over the period under review.

According to the minister, tax income collection increased by 38% in the current fiscal year, and the province will receive Rs7,438 billion. The Federal Board of income expects to earn Rs12,970 billion in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

In contrast to the federal government’s projected net income of Rs9,119 billion, he stated that the federation’s non-tax revenue projections are set at Rs3,587 billion.

The federal government’s total outlays are projected to be Rs18,877 billion, with interest payments accounting for the remaining Rs9,775 billion.

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