January 14, 2022 (MLN): The business community has expressed reservations on various tax measures taken by the government through mini-budget approved by the National Assembly a day earlier, a press release said today.
The leadership of Businessmen Group & Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) demanded to revisit the Supplementary Finance Bill 2021-22 imposed under IMF dictates as this will have negative implications for industry and trade.
Not only this, but it will also overburden the poor and middle-class segments due to an increase in prices of consumer goods, the joint statement said.
Chairman Businessmen Group Zubair Motiwala, Vice Chairmen BMG Tahir Khaliq, Haroon Farooki, Anjum Nisar & Jawed Bilwani, General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, Senior Vice President Abdul Rehman Naqi, Vice President Qazi Zahid Hussain and Former Senior Vice President Ibrahim Kasumbi demanded that the Supplementary Finance Bill 2021-22 should be revisited and should not be implemented without taking the main stakeholders on board.
They pointed out that harsh measures and withdrawal of exemptions on inputs of essential consumer items such as packaged dairy milk, oilseeds for sowing, plant & machinery, and industrial raw materials including raw cotton, etc. will have a detrimental impact on the economy by terribly affecting industrial performance and also the lives of the poor masses.
They emphasized that instead of putting an additional tax burden on industry and the consumers for complying with IMF conditionalities, the government and FBR should intensify efforts to broaden the tax base. In fact, the government can generate significant additional revenue by plugging various loopholes including exemptions given on the import of various items for PATA/FATA which were massively being abused. This includes steel sheets, bulk edible oil and plastic materials, etc.
Moreover, massive smuggling of black tea, edible oil from Iran, auto parts and many other high-value products was also going on which causes heavy loss of revenue to the exchequer. IMF can only provide broad guidelines to curtail fiscal deficit and cannot micro-manage the economy. Therefore, it is unjust and unfair to continue targeting those sectors which are tax compliant and unable to bear more taxes, the statement added.
Putting the additional burden of liability for fake CNIC and further tax of 3 percent over and above 17 percent will result in many persons going out of the sales tax net and was tantamount to absolving the tax authorities from broadening the tax base. It appears that the business and industrial community was being compelled to shut down businesses forever, they said, adding that the rate of sales tax on import of raw material has also been increased from 5 percent to 10 percent.
They also asked to restore the concessional rates on plant & machinery.
BMG and KCCI leaders also mentioned that for the very first time in the history of Pakistan, 17 percent sales tax has been imposed on Tax-Free Export Processing Zones which was undoubtedly a conspiracy to completely destroy the activities in these zones.
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