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



  • 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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Petrol, diesel prices likely to go down from April 1




  • Petrol rate likely to reduce by Rs4-5 per litre.
  • Rs15-20 per litre reduction expected in diesel price.
  • Sources hint at possibility of prices remaining unchanged.

Following a reduction in international crude oil prices, the rates of petroleum products in Pakistan are expected to decline from April 1, Geo News reported Wednesday.

According to estimates of oil marketing companies (OMCs), the price of diesel is likely to decline by Rs15-20 per litre while the price of petrol is expected to go down by Rs4-5 per litre.

However, well-placed sources in the industry said that there is a possibility that the Finance Division keeps the price unchanged.

In its last fortnight bulletin, the federal government raised the price of petrol to Rs272 per litre.

The Finance Division attributed the price hike to the depreciation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar and an increase in the prices registered by Platts Singapore.

The price of MS (petrol) was increased by Rs5 per litre and the price of hi-speed diesel was increased by Rs13 per litre.

The increase in the price of kerosene oil was kept at Rs2.56 by reducing the government’s dues on it. Similarly, the price of light diesel oil was kept constant by adjusting the government dues as well.

The new prices came into effect on March 16 and will remain in place till March 31.

The Finance Division will announce the news rates on March 31 which will remain in place for the next 15 days. 

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Banks to observe extended working hours




At the request of the Federal Board of Revenue, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday directed all branches of banks to observe extended banking hours in order to facilitate the taxpayers in payment of government duties/taxes.

The central bank, in a statement issued in this regard, said that the direction is for all branches of banks including the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP-BSC).

“[…] all branches of banks including National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP-BSC) shall observe extended banking hours until 04:00 P.M. and 06:00 P.M. on 30th and 31st March 2023 respectively for collection of government taxes through ADC’s Over-the-Counter (OTC) facility,” the statement read.

It mentioned that National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) shall arrange a special clearing at 6pm on March 31 (Friday) for the same-day clearing of payment instruments deposited at NBP’s authorised branches for customs collections.

“For this purpose, all banks shall arrange to keep their clearing-related branches open till such time that is necessary to facilitate the special clearing by NIFT on March 31, 2023 (Friday),” it read.

It should be noted that during Ramadan, banks observe reduced hours. Currently, the timings are:

Public dealing timings:

  • Monday to Thursday — 9am to 2pm (without break)
  • Friday — 8:30am to 1pm (without break)

Office timings:

  • Monday to Thursday — 9am to 3:30pm (with prayer break from 2pm to 2:30pm)
  • Friday — 8:30am to 1pm (without break)

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PM Shehbaz takes notice of gas loadshedding during sehr, iftar




  • PM Shehbaz says he has already taken notice of the matter.
  • Premier summons a meeting to discuss issue of gas loadshedding.
  • “We will leave no stone unturned to address this issue,” PM says.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday assured the members of the National Assembly that his government would address the issue of gas loadshedding during sehr and iftar as inflation-weary people have been registering complaints.

The prime minister, responding to a point of order raised by MNA Syed Agha Rafiullah, told the house that he had already taken notice of the matter.

PM Shehbaz shared that he had already summoned a meeting to be held later in the day, to discuss the issue of gas loadshedding.

“We will leave no stone unturned to address this issue,” the prime minister assured the house.

Earlier, a parliamentarian from Karachi’s Malir area drew the house’s attention to the problem of gas loadshedding being faced by the people, particularly those of Karachi, during sehr and iftar.

He said though the prime minister had already taken notice of the situation, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) needed to be directed to resolve the issue and provide uninterrupted supply during sehr and iftar.

Last week, the SSGC said gas would be supplied to domestic consumers during the holy month of Ramadan, but for limited hours — a move that irked consumers who complained of not getting enough of this essential fuel during mealtimes.

The utility had said that the gas pressure would be low from 8am to 2:30pm as it was facing a shortfall of 250 million mmbtu.

According to the SSGC helpline, for iftar, gas will be supplied to consumers in Karachi from 2:30pm to 7pm, while for sehr it will be available from 2:30am to 5am.

The gas utility added that consumers would face complete suspension or low pressure during the rest of the hours. 

However, the people have been complaining that gas remained suspended during sehr and iftar which forced them to purchase meals from hotels and restaurants which burdened their pockets.

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