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Provincial Minister for Finance Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht has said that consultation with stakeholders for budget preparation is top priority as economic revival is not possible without their due participation.
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry here on Monday. Chairman Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) Zain-ul-Abiden Sahi, Chairman Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) Jahanzeb Burana and Secretary Finance Muhammad Abdullah Sumbal also spoke on the occasion.
The Minister said that major part of Annual Development Plan (ADP) is being spent to those projects that would promote trade and economic activities. He said that an internal study has identified more than fifty taxes, abolishment of which will not harm exchequer or ease of doing business index. National Tax Council has been asked to play its role for tax harmonization, he said.
"We want to enhance tax-to-GDP ratio but not at the cost of economy", the Minister said and added that inspector less regime and digitalization would improve the EODB ranking. He said that work on E-payments system is on the way and soon this system would be implemented.
The Minister said that revival of construction sector is a must. He said that 16 percent tax was imposed on this sector last year that has been withdrawn and a flat rate has been imposed. "We are looking to property tax, DC rates, Stamp duty & FBR rates and good news will be given soon", the minister added.
LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh drew the attention of decreasing Annual Development Programme (ADP) from Rs576 billion in 2017-18 to Rs350 billion in Budget 2019-20. It has negatively impacted the ongoing infrastructure projects and other development activities in the province and has also resulted in an economic slowdown. There should be a considerable increase in the size of Annual Development Programme for the year 2020-21 to stimulate economic activity in the province, he suggested.
The LCCI President said that Sales Tax on services is being charged at different rates by Punjab Revenue Authority (16 percent) and Sindh Revenue Board (13 percent) which creates an environment of competition among the provinces. Uniform rate of Sales Tax on services should be charged by all the provinces.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020