All Pakistan Business Forum President Ibrahim Qureshi has condemned the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s calculator approach in finalizing the federal budget 2015-16, which focused more on revenue collection and less on the fulfillment of its major objective of giving a long-term direction to the economy.

This budget shows the failure of the Federal Board of Revenue as the reduction of taxpayers in active taxpayers list clearly indicates the failure of the govt, he added.

Terming the federal budget as a number game with no incentives for industry and more privileges for few sectors, he said that government is non-serious to explore new venues for revenue generation and no efforts had been taken to plug revenue leakages amounting in billions.

He said that the aggregate of revenue effect from the new taxation measures amounts to Rs253.2 billion and this approach is short-term because affluent builders are being favored at the expense of industry and the documented sectors. He criticized the Federal Board of Revenue for failing in broadening of tax base. The government instead of generating revenue from direct taxes showed its intention to collect revenue through withholding tax. Moreover, the government after increasing the tax rate for non-filers in this budget had admitted its failure to implement the concept of filer and non-filer introduced in the last budget.

He also opposed the mini-budget of Punjab government which has slapped another 19.5% duty on services ahead of provincial budget. He said internet had now become a necessity for every sector of the economy, whether its agriculture, healthcare, education or SMEs. He said that small size businesses have also a monthly bill of more than Rs1,500. Making broadband expensive will have a very negative impact on the overall economy, as taxing broadband is like raising petrol prices, which affects every sector of the economy, he added.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that like the previous governments, this one too has refrained from bringing big fishes into the tax net or even taking measures to prevent major tax evasions.

He said that service sector, which generated 70% of total revenue, had completely been neglected in this budget but government had favoured few sectors including construction, agriculture, aviation, etc through budget.

The government attempted to squeeze the neck of old taxpayers instead of taking efforts to bring new taxpayers into tax net. He said that government had increased customs tariff on smuggling prone items including air conditioners, etc in the budget, which would promote its contraband imports in the country.

He blasted the authorities for not keeping its focus on resolving the energy crisis and allocating sufficient funds for the construction of big reservoirs including Kalabagh Dam in budget 2015-16.

He said that policymakers would have to address the concerns of the public since they suffer the most as a result of the power crisis.

Ibrahim Qureshi questioned the claims of the government regarding reduction in unemployment, improvement in per capita income and improved energy situation. He said that government could not initiate any notable energy project in the outgoing fiscal therefore claim of improved electricity supply is totally wrong. He said that 10% tax on electricity bills of over Rs.75,000 would increase the cost of doing business.