LAHORE - The Qaumi Tajir Ittehad has endorsed the shutter down call of All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran (Naeem Mir and Ashraf Bhatti groups) on August 1, urging the government to remove 0.3 per cent withholding tax imposed on all banking transactions.

Addressing a press conference here at Lahore press club, QTI president Kh Azhar Gulshan said that imposition of 0.3 per cent withholding tax on banking transactions is an injustice and against the government’s own policy of tax net expansion.

There should be no withholding tax for the filers as they are already performing their national obligation with honesty. He termed it double taxation, which was bound to hit the trade and industry hard. He said the government should understand that protests and strikes always hit the economic activities hard, and therefore this tax should be withdrawn immediately in the larger interest of the economy.

Meanwhile, Foam Manufacturers Association general secretary Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim said that the government has to increase tax-to-GDP ratio for sustainable economic development of the country. Those who are rich but not paying tax are burden on the honest taxpayers.

He said that tax-to-GDP ratio in Pakistan is just around 10 percent which is among the lowest in the world while in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden, China and India it is 43.4, 46.8, 49, 44.6, 43.6, 45.8, 17 and 17.7 percent respectively.

Sheikh Ibrahim said that we have to broaden the tax base in the larger interest of the trade, industry, economy and existing honest taxpayers. He said that it is a matter of concern that currently less than one percent of Pakistanis are paying income tax. “We have to boost the tax-to-GDP ratio to at least 17 percent during the current financial year”, he added.