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Anticipated economic trend at the forefront

Anticipated economic trend at the forefront

Interview with Mr Ashfaq Yousuf Tola – President, Tola Associates


Professional Accomplishments


  • Fellow Member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan
  • Fellow Member of the Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Pakistan
  • Life Member of Karachi Press Club
  • Life Member of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Member of Karachi Tax Bar Association

Key Achievements:

  • Presentation to IMF on Single Stage Sales Tax in December 2015.
  • Visited Turkey as an official of Government of Pakistan to study Turkish Tax System & authored a report on Turkish Taxation System.
  • Knowledge of more than 40 jurisdictions around the globe and co-authored report with Dr. Hafeez Pasha on Sindh Provincial Taxation System.
  • International Speaker on Pakistan Economy and Non-Resident Taxation in 2018 and 2019 at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Jeddah.
  • Distinction of passing CA Examinations – Intermediate & Final (both groups together in 1st attempt) as trainee of PWC A. F. Ferguson & Co., Chartered Accountants.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Tax Planning and Advisory
  • Assurance and Business Advisory Services
  • International Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Corporate Finance and Investment Advisory
  • Due Diligence and Forensic audits
  • Financial Product Designing and Launching
  • Public Listings and Corporate Affairs

Key Positions:

  • Member Board – Privatization Commission, Government of Pakistan (present)
  • Chairman – Sub-Committee on Taxation for promotion of Islamic Banking Ministry of Finance, GOP. (2017)

Federal Board of Revenue, Government of Pakistan:

  • Chairman Anomaly Committee (2019)
  • Member Tax Reforms Implementation Commission (2016 to date)
  • Member Tax Reforms Commission (2015)
  • Member Tax Advisory Council (2014-15)
  • Member Taxation Reforms Co-ordination Group (2011-13)
  • Member Revenue Advisory Council (2011)

Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan:

  • Member Council, (present)
  • Chairman: Fiscal Laws Committee (Taxation), (present)
  • Chairman: Anti Money Laundering Committee, (present)
  • Chairman: CA Joint Committee, (present)
  • Member Investigation Committee, (present)
  • Member Examination Committee, (present)
  • Member Public Sector Committee, (present)
  • Member Overseas Coordination Committee, (2018)
  • Member Regional Committee – (Southern Region) (1993-96)
  • Secretary of Regional Committee (Southern Region) (1996)
  • Member Education and Training Committee, (1994-95, 95-96, 96-97)
  • Member Technical Services Committee, and 1992-93, 93-94)
  • Chairman Chartered Accountant Students’ Association (1993)

South Asian Federation of Accountants:

  • Member Fiscal Law Committee (present)
  • Member Tariff Committee (present)

Federal Tax Ombudsman:

Member Advisory Committee (South) (present)

Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance:

  • Member Board of Directors, and (present)
  • Member Audit Committee (present)

Pakistan Institute of Public Finance Accountant:

  • Member Board of Governors (present)
  • Chairman CPD Committee (present)

Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Pakistan:

  • Secretary of Karachi Branch Council (KBC) (1995 and 1996)
  • Elected Member KBC and Convener Seminar and Publication Committees (1992-96)
  • Member Technical Committee
  • Member Research Committee

Karachi Club:

  • President (2012 and 2013; 2016 and 2017)
  • Honorary Secretary (2008)
  • Member Managing Committee (2003, 2004)

Professional Experience:

  • President Tola Associates (April 2017 to date)
  • Senior Partner Naveed Zafar Ashfaq Jaffery & Co, Chartered Accountants, a member firm of Prime Global International (2012 to March 2017)
  • Partner Nasir Javaid Maqsood Imran Ashfaq, Chartered Accountants 2011 to March 2012
  • Principal Strategic Officer in Stallion Textiles (Private) Limited (2008 to 2010)
  • Chief Executive Officer in Fincon (2000 to 2007)

PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST had an exclusive conversation with Mr Ashfaq Yousuf Tola regarding Workers’ Remittances, Tax Revenue Collection, Foreign Direct Investment, Balance of Trade in Goods and Balance of Payment. Excerpts of the conversation are as follows:

According to the SBP, Pakistan’s Overseas Workers’ Remittances appreciated by 4.23% to $2.43 billion in Dec 2020 against $2.33 billion in Nov 2020. Pakistan’s remittances have touched $2 billion mark for 7th consecutive month since June 2020. On year-on-year basis, Pakistan’s Overseas Worker’s Remittances surged by 16.2% from $2.09 billion in Dec 2019 to $2.43 billion in Dec 2020. On a month-on-month basis, country’s remittances appreciated by 9.73% from United States, 14.33% from United Kingdom, and 1.59% from Saudi Arabia. Whereas, it dropped by 1.43% from United Arab Emirates and around 1% from other GCC countries. On a cumulative basis, remittances reached to $14.2 billion during July-Dec 2020, which grew by 24.9% higher than same period last year. This half yearly growth in remittances is the highest since 2007.

According to official statistics, FBR has touched 99.7% of its six-monthly target of Rs.2,210 billion during July-Dec 2020. FBR collected tax revenue of Rs.2,204 billion during July-Dec 2020 against Rs.2,101 billion last year. This reflects 4.90% or Rs.103 billion higher tax collection compared to last year. However, this growth of 4.9% is almost half than average inflation of 8.63% during July-Dec 2020. On average, FBR needs to collect additional tax revenue of Rs. 459.84 billion per month during next 6 months to fulfill its annual tax revenue target of Rs4,963 billion in 2020-21.

Pakistan’s net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) dropped by30% to $952.6 million during Jul-Dec 2020 against $1,357.4 million last year. According to the SBP, total Foreign Investment of the country has deteriorated by 72% from $1,828.4 million during July-Dec 2019 to $514.5 million during July-Dec 2020. Pakistan’s net FDI turned into positive to $194 million in Dec 2020 against. negative $16 million in Nov 2020. According to Planning Commission, Pakistan’s net FDI is projected at $3 billion in 2020-21 against $2.56 billion last year.

According to the PBS, Pakistan’s exports have appreciated by 8.98% to $2.36 billion in Dec 2020 against $2.17 billion in Nov 2020 on a month-on-month basis. Whereas, imports also started to pick up, this is an encouraging trend for the economy. This growth in the imports stood at 16.61 percent, which is double than growth in exports in Dec 2020. Pakistan’s exports have posted substantial growth of 19 percent in Dec 2020 against $1.98 billion last year. During July-Dec 2020-21, Pakistan’s exports grew by 5% to $12.11 billion against $11.52 billion last year. According to Adviser to PM for Commerce and Investment, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, “SBP’s Temporary Economic Refinance Facility (TERF) providing long-term concessionary refinance at 5% for manufacturers and exporters has shown excellent results.” This growth in exports likely to touch $25 billion if it continued with this pace.

Pakistan’s Current Account Balance stands at deficit of $662 million in Dec 2020 compared to the revised figure of surplus amounting at $513 million in Nov 2020. The Current Account Balance turned into deficit which remained in surplus for 5th successive month. The Current Account balance stood at $1.13 billion during July-Dec 2020 against deficit of $2.03 billion last year mainly due to the improvement in Services Balance, Primary income, and remittances. On account of substantial 23% growth in imports of goods, 38% growth in imports of services (transport, travelling & other business services etc.) and drop in primary income turned current account surplus into deficit in Dec 2020. This higher growth in imports of goods which crossed over $5 billion in Dec 2020 includes; imports of essential food items, machinery imports, petroleum and industrial raw material, reflecting revival of economic activities. However, overall, external account likely to remain stable compared to last year.

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