Presenting an emergency supplementary budget on Tuesday, federal minister for finance, revenue and economic affairs, Asad Umar, announced that non-filers can now buy new cars and property.
The PTI government has reversed former government’s ban on these purchases by non-filers.
The news was well received by investors at the capital market as the benchmark KSE-100 Share Index, a key measure of market performance, rose more than 700 points or 1.7%.
It was the stock market’s biggest single-day gain in seven weeks.
Stocks of two automakers, five cement companies and two steel manufacturers closed at their upper limits, after rising 5% of their opening price.
The market may have celebrated this announcement, but former finance minister Miftah Ismail said he was disappointed.
After all, he was the one who, in the last federal budget, had imposed a blanket ban on purchase of new cars and more than Rs4 million property by those who don’t file their income tax return.
The purpose of the ban was to bring these people ‘under the tax net’.
Very disappointed that PTI govt has lifted the ban on non-taxpayers from buying new cars and expensive land. We were under intense pressure from auto companies and land developers but we didn’t budge. But today I am sorry to say automakers have won and Pakistani taxpayers lost.
— Miftah Ismail (@MiftahIsmail) September 18, 2018
“Very disappointed that [the] PTI govt. has lifted the ban on non-taxpayers [non-filers] from buying new cars and expensive land,” the former finance minister error on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, Asad Umar said they received complaints from overseas Pakistanis who were not able to buy new property and cars because of restrictions on non-filers, a condition overseas Pakistanis could not meet.
But, Ismail said the government has removed the ban for the whole of Pakistan, in the name of overseas Pakistanis.
“I am sorry to say automakers have won and Pakistani taxpayers lost,” Ismail said calling the removal of the ban a victory for “auto lobby and land mafia”.
Both the automobile and real estate sectors of Pakistan are happy over the government’s new policy.