LAHORE   -    The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has urged the government to harmonise/unify Labour Taxes in Punjab to facilitate the business community.

While talking to a delegation of businessmen, LCCI President Almas Hyder said that number of taxes pertaining to industries and businesses in Punjab could be reduced considerably by clubbing Employees Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI), Punjab Employees Social Security Institution (PESSI), Workers’ Profit Participation Fund (WPPF) and Workers’ Welfare Fund (WWF).

The LCCI President also suggested that the responsibility for collection of these taxes should be given to Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA). He said that the initiative would help to separate tax collection from service provision so that the department like PESSI, EOBI stop sending inspectors for tax collection and focus only on service delivery.

Almas Hyder said that the frequency of tax payments of labor taxes (EOBI, PESSI, WPPF, WWF) should be reduced to once a year. While giving a breakup of frequency of tax payment, he said that businessmen would have to pay 12 times employer paid pension contribution, 12 times social security contributions, one time WWF and one time WPPF. He said that clubbing of these taxes would reduce the frequency of tax payments to just one that would be equally beneficial for the businessmen and the government.  He said that implementation of these measures would not only reduce the burden on existing taxpayers but would also encourage new taxpayers to come into the tax net besides improving Pakistan’s international ranking in paying taxes.

Meanwhile, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has hoped that Prime Minister’s visit to the United States would set new dimensions for mutual diplomatic, trade & economic relations.

LCCI President Almas Hyder said that successful visit of PM Imran Khan would not only transmit a good message to the outer world but was also a good sign for Pakistan’s economy. He said that the US was the largest export destination for Pakistani goods with a contribution of over 16% in exports.

“Outcomes of the visits show that relations between the two countries would definitely grow but these should also be translated into trade & economic cooperation as both countries have the potential to grow mutual trade to $ 10 billion”, he said.

Almas Hyder said that business community wanted the US to consider allowing duty free access to Pakistani merchandise. He said that aid or grant was undoubtedly a remedy but has never been a substitute to trade. He said that the US would be achieving two goals through this gesture. First, it would be winning the hearts of Pakistanis and secondly, the US would be able to fulfill the promise of economic revival of Pakistan. He said that there was vast scope for US investment in several sectors including power, textile, auto, health, education, food, livestock and dairy etc.