Lahore - The President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) Sheikh Muhammad Arshad has said that economic growth lies in implementation of good economic governance therefore government should revisit all its economic policies in the federal budget 2016-17 to overcome the economic challenges in shortest possible time.  

He was addressing a mammoth gathering of traders from various markets, led by Ashraf Bhatti, here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed, representatives of trading community Zaheer Babar, Naeem Badsha, Arshad Khan, Arshad Iqbal, Mian Saleem, Mian Tariq, Mian Waqar and former Vice President Abuzar Shad were prominent amongst the others.

Sheikh Muhammad Arshad informed the participants that according to the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Revenue concerned government departments are seriously considering the LCCI industry-related budget proposals 2016-17. He said that well consulted budget proposals of trading community would also be forwarded to the government.

He said that heavy trade and current account deficit is not a good omen for the economy therefore we should give workable proposals to resolve such economic issues. The LCCI President agreed with the delegation members that discretionary powers of FBR officials should be withdrawn immediately. He said that undue interference of FBR officials in business matters is giving a bad message to the local and foreign investors. 

Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that as an essential element of good governance, Pakistan lacks culture of tax compliance. He said that there is an urgent need to reform the taxation system by engaging all the stakeholders. He urged the government to withdraw withholding tax on bank transactions in the larger interest of the trade and industry. He said that this tax has forced the business community to conduct its monetary transactions in cash. He said that withdrawal of withholding tax on bank transactions would give a big relief to the business community. He also called to remove the double taxation system that is hampering the trade and economic activities in the country.

The LCCI President said that the government would have to weed out the menace of smuggling and under-invoicing before implementing any tax avoidance measures. He said that it was very unfortunate that instead of widening tax base and bringing the untaxed sectors into the tax net, steps are being taken to squeeze the existing tax payers.

Ashraf Bhatti said that only one lakh traders are paying tax out of 10 lakh in Lahore approximately. He said that government should broaden tax base which would bring down the burden from the existing tax payers. He also urged the government to use available data to broaden the tax net.

One of the participants suggested that evaluation of goods should be made on invoice value to provide some breathing space to the people attached with this business. The suggestion of issuance of trade certificate also came under discussion.