ISLAMABAD -  Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan has said the government is prepared to work with the small traders to address their genuine concerns and asked them to forward their proposals and recommendations for their consideration prior to the federal budget.

“We believe the small businesses have a prime role in keeping the economy on track and facilitating and providing them a business-friendly environment is government’s top priority,” he said while talking to a delegation of Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders & Small Industries at the FBR House Thursday.  Haroon Akhtar Khan said the government had always valued the business community and their contribution towards economic development of the country. “It was with this in mind that we introduced in 2015 a Voluntary Tax Compliance Scheme whereby we accepted demands of the small businessmen and traders they had set as a prerequisite to become part of the tax system,” he said, adding that despite the best efforts of the government, traders failed to benefit from the scheme.

Responding to the queries and concerns of the traders, Haroon Akhtar said the imposition of withholding tax on bank transactions was actually an advance tax adjustable at the time of filing of Income Tax returns. “The government does not want to burden the existing taxpayers and all our energies are focused on broadening the tax base,” he said. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman FBR Tariq Mahmood Pasha said a minimum deterrence was necessary for FBR to perform its function of revenue generation in an efficient manner. However, he said he had issued instructions to all field formations of FBR to treat the taxpayers with utmost respect.

FBR members were also present in the meeting which was attended among others by Chamber President Qazi Muhammad Ilyas, Sr Vice-President Syed Imran Bukhari, Vice-President Talat Abbasi, Vice President Wajida Syed as well as Kashif Chaudary, President of All Pakistan Taajar Ittehad.