LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday fully endorsed the findings of Commission on black economy, saying that an early implementation of the recommendations would help save a much bigger amount what is being collected by the Federal Board of Revenue under the head of taxes and duties.

While commenting on the Commission report, LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that the commission has rightly identified the sources of black economy within the tax regime that are incurring a loss to the tune of more than Rs 100 to 125 billion per annum to the exchequer.

“We are all praise for the Commission that has pinpointed tax evasion of billions of rupees through under invoicing, smuggling and other wrong tactics.”

The LCCI President said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry had been calling for a long time now to plug the loopholes with a view that no income earned in the black economy should find shelter under any justification.

Engineer Sohail Lashari said that it was on record that the LCCI for the last 15 years had been inviting the attention of concerned authorities towards under-invoicing, mis-declaration in HS code, weight and volume to the tune of billions of rupees by the importers of goods from China. But it is very unfortunate that no concrete action has so far been taken to curb this menace.

He said that facts are also on record that there is huge difference of dollar 3.5 billion between China’s exports to Pakistan and Pakistan’s imports from China. The LCCI President said that this phenomenon could be overcome through putting a complete ban on import through TT but the business community was unable to understand that why the FBR/SBP who always stress business through banking channels are silent on this particular subject for the last many years.

There is also a need to convert the “withholding tax regime” into a “minimum tax regime” without any possibility of refunds. The withholding tax except on salary becomes part of the price and is passed on to the ultimate user or consumer of goods. Why a consumer should pay the Income Tax of a businessman. There is, therefore, no justification to allow refund of the same. All other exemptions should be withdrawn in the light of international/national studies which have proven that exemptions of tax on income did not encourage the documentation of economy at all.