LAHORE -  Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Abdul Basit has urged the government to take more steps to control smuggling and said that Frontier Constabulary (FC), deployed at borders, should be equipped with the latest technology.

While talking to journalists here on Sunday, he said the prime minister had taken notice of the hurdles and problems being faced by the businessmen and pledged to do away the same, which was appreciable. Basit called for expeditious export refunds, abolishing tax officials' discretionary powers under Section 38-B of Sales Tax Act 1990, reversing agriculture stagnation, ensuring identical energy prices in provinces and removing bureaucratic hurdles in various matters. Such steps would ultimately boost economic growth in the country, he added.

The LCCI chief said the government must ensure that investors and companies engaged in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should use indigenously produced inputs except for the goods which were not produced locally. The goods which were not manufactured or produced in Pakistan, for example, soybean meal and grandparents chicks, should not be taxed, he added.

He urged the government to take more steps to control smuggling and Frontier Constabulary (FC) deployed at borders should be equipped with the latest technology. Terming Afghan Transit Trade one of the sources of smuggling, he said that Afghanistan should not be allowed to import such raw materials which were not being used there due to non-existence of such industry in Afghanistan. The duties on smuggling-prone items and raw materials should be reduced, he demanded.

To a question, he said that economic growth could be boosted by zero-rated tax on the Halal food sector as Pakistan had a little share in the international Halal food trade of about $3 trillion. He said the role of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was considered to be a key facilitator for the private sector. He, however, alleged that complicated tax system did create complications between taxpayers and tax collectors. He suggested number of taxes and frequency of paying taxes must be reduced, besides making the tax payment on quarterly basis instead of monthly basis.

He stressed the need for putting in place an electronic communication system between taxpayers and tax departments, as it could make noticeable difference and win confidence of taxpayers. He suggested that teams from tax department should visit markets, if indispensable, but they should be bound to follow due legal process.