LAHORE : The businessmen have called for a tax-free budget for the year 2016-17 to achieve high economic growth.

PIAF chairman said on Monday that the increase in number of taxes always encouraged people to stay out of the tax net while cut in tax rates always expand the tax base. “Therefore, the government should rationalize tax tariffs instead of making any increase in their rates,” Irfan Iqbal Sheikh added. He said the fact remained that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar are putting in their best efforts to attract much-needed foreign investment in the country but their efforts would bear fruit only when the taxation procedures would be simple.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh also said the private sector should be facilitated to create more jobs since the government alone could hardly provide jobs to all the unemployed graduates. As the LNG arrival has curtailed the shortage of gas in the country, the government should now start giving new gas connections to the industrial consumers to ensure maximum utilization of Re-gasified Liquid Natural Gas.

Hundred of industrial consumers have applied for new industrial connections and applications must be processed without delay, Chairman Irfan sheikh added. The purpose is to avail the RLNG at the earliest to cut the production cost, which is proving a major hurdle in competing internationally, he added.

LCCI executive committee member and Pakistan Foam Manufacturers Association chairman Sheikh Ibrahim said the government would have to allocate more funds towards power generation projects as the shortage of electricity has already caused irreparable loss to the overall economy and the economic activities in the country and that it was imperative to achieve revenue targets that they are set realistically keeping in view the ground realities.

He said new taxes meant the more burdens on the existing tax payers that would ultimately increase the cost of doing business.

He said the government would have to curtail the size of bureaucracy to control the day-to-day running cost of the government as the concept of smart organisation well equipped with latest technology is fast gaining ground in the leading economies of the world and that the businessmen have proposed to the government to increase the rate of duties on smuggled items while the rate of taxes for the local manufacturers should be curtailed.