LAHORE - Founder Chairman Pak-US Business Council Iftikhar Ali Malik said the entire business community including Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce, all its affiliated chambers, trade bodies and associations will extend full support to Prime Minister Imran Khan for broadening tax base across the country to help strengthen the bleak economy on sound footings; thus, lessening the burden on existing taxpayers.

He expressed these views while talking to a traders delegation led by Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad ,member executive committee of Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Jibreel Qamar Butt, patron-in-chief of Anjuman-i-Tajran Liberty . He said that the taxation and growth should go hand in hand, and it can only be done through fair taxation system.

“If growth of business and economy will be choked there will be no increase in tax collection,” he added. He said that ratio of tax payers in Pakistan was even less than Afghanistan, adding the broadening of tax net was must for strengthening the national economy and for the survival of the country.

He said that PM must also take business leaders especially Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and  Industry and other stakeholders into confidence prior to taking a monetary decision and in the process of policy making to achieve desired results.

Pakistan is at 144th number in ease of doing business

He said that the tax system should be simplified and all revenue collection bodies should be merged into one ministry or body to facilitate the tax payers. This practice will help in ease of doing business in the country, he said, adding that according to the World Bank, Pakistan is at 144th number in ease of doing business of the list of 190 countries, which is alarming.

Iftikhar Ali Malik, who is also chairman UBG, the largest alliance of chambers in the country, said that Daroo Khan Achakzai, President FPCCI, in principle agreed to lend helping hand to the government in this regard. He said plugging of revenue leakage and broadening of tax net will ultimately benefit the existing taxpayers in terms of reduction in heavy taxation. Around 1.8 million people pay taxes in Pakistan while the number of traders paying tax on electricity bills surpasses seven million, this gap can be bridged through sincere efforts backed by the government,” he added.

Highlighting Prime Minister’s plan to build taxpayer profiles through the National Database and Registration Authority, he said the National Database and Registration Authority has identified more than three million potential tax-payers, who have luxury houses in posh areas and multiple banks accounts and frequently visit foreign countries, but do not pay taxes.