FAISALABAD-The Tax Amnesty Scheme (TAS) is a major step to stabilise the national economy in the wake of dwindling foreign exchange reserves and declining exports, said Chaudhary Muhammad Tariq Regional Commissioner Inland Revenue Faisalabad.

Addressing a joint meeting of various industrial, commercial and business associations of the city at Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI), he said that there were two major reservations against TAS announced by the federal government. “All these have been resolved while Supreme Court has also cleared it,” he said adding that now FBR has launched a comprehensive and vigorous awareness campaign about TAS so that maximum investors could avail from the facility. He said that Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Tariq Mehmood Pasha has been visiting various major business centres of Pakistan to interact and personally dispel the possible apprehensions against the scheme. He said that he will also visit Faisalabad within next couple of days. Chief Commissioner requested the business leaders to compile their apprehensions so that during upcoming meeting with Chairman FBR, these points could be clarified at the highest forum.

Commenting on the taxation related problems, Chaudhary Muhammad Tariq said, “We all know very well that social and cultural behaviors of nations are always deep rooted and could not be changed overnight. However, it is fact that government is fully aware of the importance of positive improvements required in tax culture and was also making serious efforts in this regard.”

He said that Pakistan economy is facing multiple problems and in this connection steps have been taken to control inflation but the same may have negative repercussions on other sectors. He said that decrease in foreign exchange reserves and declining exports have pushed up inflation in addition to the deprecation of Pak rupee. He said that rupee has already been depreciated but the economists are still of the opinion that delayed decision making have already inflicted colossal lose. The current ratio of devaluation is not up to the required mark, he said. He said that in order to strengthen exports, further devaluation will be required but at the same time, it may push up the inflation resulting in price hike of tea and all other imported items. He said that the outgoing government has taken stringent measures to control the inflation but the widening gap between imports and exports has nullified all economic achievements and now some experts are floating proposals to get assistance from IMF. Regional Commissioner Inland Revenue said that in order to overcome the impact of devaluation, the country will require revenue from Rs4 trillion to Rs6 trillion. This situation may have negative impact on the economy, he added.

Commenting on the expansion of tax net, he said that government has taken two major steps, barring non-filers from purchasing plots and vehicles. “This step has been taken to bring them into the tax net which will certainly increase the number of tax payers and thus share the burden of existing tax payers. Quoting an example of Caliph Hazrat Ali who had written a letter to the governor of Egypt on taxation, he said that it had clearly narrated that tax ratio should not have negative impact on overall business growth. This principle is still valid in the present scenario as growth in business will certainly generate more taxes for the national kitty.

Tariq requested to the business leaders to ensure maximum participation in the meeting scheduled to be addressed by Chairman FBR. He hoped that they should explicitly voice their apprehensions and reservation regarding TAS so that necessary clarification could be sought at the highest level.

Earlier, FCCI President Shabbir Hussain Chawla underlined the importance of taxes but remarked that trust deficit between the tax payers and tax collectors is major hurdle in the promotion of healthy tax culture in the country. He stressed transparency in government expenditures in addition to highlighting some burning issues of the business community.

A question-answer session was also held in which Secretary General Abid Masood, Chaudhary Muhammad Nawaz, Rana Sikandar Azam, Muhammad Amjad Khawaja, Mr. Ayub Sabir, Talat Mehmood, Muhammad Naseer Vohra and Abdul Qayyum Sheikh raised questions.

Later, Muhammad Amjad Khawaja of PHMA presented FCCI Shield to Chaudhary Muhammad Tariq while gift hampers were also presented to the other guests.