Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan has stressed the need for removing existing complexities in the region’s tax system to make it easier and business friendly. The AJK PM made these remarks while addressing a high-level meeting of the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) here on Friday. The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance and Inland Revenue Abdul Majeed Khan, Chairman Central Board of Revenue Faheem Ahmad Khan, Secretary Services and General Administration Raja Amjad Pervez Ali Khan, Principal Secretary Syed Shahid Mohi-ud-Din Qadri, CBR officials and others. Speaking on the occasion, PM said that restoring the Inland Revenue Department to its original condition was the government’s first priority. Referring to complexities in the region’s (AJK) tax system, he said that there was dire need to remove all the complexities and cumbersome procedures in the existing system so that businessmen and investors could have no problems. The PM stated that the CBR should encourage local industrialists, encourage taxpayers by making the tax collection system people friendly and transparent. “Make people realize that our state is all that matters the most. You may disagree with the government but when it comes to the state, we are one and every single citizen of the state is bound to play a responsible role for its welfare”, the PM said. The Prime Minister directed the officials of the Inland Revenue Department to compile a list of the top 100 prominent tax payers of Azad Kashmir and to encourage them. “Hire a well reputable tax consultant to rectify the existing Revenue Act and make the existing Act valid and competent”, he said adding that all possible measures would be taken to make the CBR a better institution and whatever legal loopholes exist in the CBR Act would also be removed. The Prime Minister on the occasion lamented that the tourist sector was badly ignored during the past 75 years. “Tourist destinations of Azad Kashmir are in no way inferior to tourist destinations of the world but the problem is that during the past several decades no effort was made for the development of tourism”, he said adding that the PTI government would give tourism the status of an industry in order to boost local economy and generate more revenue for the state. He said that the funds would be allocated in the forthcoming budget for the promotion of local industry. He said that during the PTI rule in Pakistan, the then Prime Minister Imran Khan increased the tax net, which was also acknowledged by his opponents. “In AJK there is also an urgent need to increase the tax net”, he maintained. On the occasion, the Prime Minister was given a detailed briefing on the functioning of the CBR, its problems and future course of action. The PM was informed that CBR was working under the Government of Azad Kashmir from 1948 to 1979, however, during the tenure of late General Hyat Khan in 1980 the department was brought under the control of Kashmir Council. He was informed that under the 13th Amendment, the AJK government regained its authority over the CBR. It was stated that the CBR was currently operating under the CBR Act 2020, which has some loopholes that need to be addressed. Highlighting the CBR’s performance, the officials informed the PM that after 13th amendment, the CBR had earned more revenue than its target in tax collection. In the year 2020-21, the CBR had collected taxes worth 29 billion rupees against the revenue target of Rs 28 billion rupees. The target for tax collection in the current financial year is 31 billion rupees, which will be completed by the end of the year. Till now the CBR has collected about 30 billion rupees in terms of tax collection.