ISLAMABAD -  Khalid Iqbal Malik, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has called upon the National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) to provide unconditional cooperation to FBR in identifying potential taxpayers as it was a national responsibility. He said it was encouraging that NADRA has shown its willingness to share a list of around 795,000 potential taxpayers who are not on the tax role with FBR. However, he said NADRA should not ask for any specific percentage of tax collected from these cases as its share because it was its national responsibility to help in efforts aimed at identifying new taxpayers in the country. He said NADRA’s support in such efforts would contribute positively in improving tax revenue and exports of the country.

He said according to FBR’s own report, active taxpayers for the year 2015 were only 1.20 million out of which almost half was salaried class. He said Pakistan could not achieve better economic development without bringing more people into the tax net. He said no serious efforts were made in Pakistan to enhance the tax base due to which burden on existing taxpayers was increasing and this state of affairs was not proving conducive for the country. He said it was high time that FBR should focus on expanding tax net instead of putting more burden on the existing taxpayers.

Khalid Iqbal Malik said that according to FBR’s own analysis, Pakistan has the potential to collect Rs.5500 to Rs.6000 billion tax revenue. However, he wondered why the FBR was not making strong efforts to exploit this huge tax potential for the betterment the country. He said the prevailing complicated tax system was one of the major hurdles in promoting tax culture. He urged that FBR should focus on simplification of tax system to make it fair and just.

He said electricity, gas and telephone departments could also help FBR in identifying potential taxpayers in the country and emphasized that FBR should develop strong liaison with these departments to broaden the tax base. He said that zero-rated tax sectors should not be made to deposit tax and then claim refunds as it was a time-consuming exercise. He said zero-rated sectors should be free of such difficult procedures.

ICCI President said that FBR should make complicated tax procedures easier, reduce high tax rates, focus on direct tax collection and develop a transparent tax system that would go a long way in improving tax revenue of the country.

Budget failed to revive confidence

of investors, exporters: PEW

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday said economic managers have pushed the country to the brink of default as the export-import gap has jumped to the unprecedented 30 billion dollars. The situation is worsening by the passage of every day but the government seems to be more interested in politics, it said.

In the current economic scenario, getting loans from the banks is not sustainable as it continues to burden exchequer and it is not a substitute to the exports, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that budget has failed to address the concerns of important sectors as the textile, overseas investors, construction, stock exchange, corporate sector, multinationals and various chambers of commerce have rejected the budget and started protests.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that government has failed to restore the confidence of exporters and investors in the budget which will further worsen the situation.

The largest export earning sector of textile is sailing in troubled waters which must be bailed out.

FBR has also failed to broaden the tax net and it will try to squeeze the existing taxpayers as it has been given an unrealistic target, he said, adding that this institution will not help to revive investors’ confidence. He said that reduced oil prices have saved the country from landing into a serious balance of payment crisis coupled with eroded currency due to the incompetence of the authorities concerned and sliding export sector.

Export refunds should be paid immediately, the issues of the textile sector should be resolved, provision of dependable energy be ensured and the tax system should be improved otherwise country will not be able to avoid another IMF loan on harsh conditions, he warned.