This is apropos a Business Recorder editorial "Making FBR do its job" carried by the newspaper last week, the newspaper has argued, among other things, that "FBR is primarily responsible for the incredibly low tax collection rate of the country. Even when its officials are not directly harassing individuals and businesses it's forms and procedures are so complicated that even the most honest taxpayers' lives are made miserable for no reason at all. The result is that a country whose tax revenue should have been somewhere around 20 percent of GDP is stuck with nine-point-something percent with nothing to suggest even the remotest chance of improvement anywhere on the horizon. It is for a reason that multi- and bi-lateral lenders insist on FBR reforms whenever we go to them for more loans. Each time we make promises, even take multi-million dollar grants from institutions like the World Bank to carry out reforms, yet things get lost when time comes for implementation and all we do is set yet more ridiculous targets and always fall short of them."
The newspaper, in my view, has ignored the fact that FBR reforms cannot take place in isolation owing to a variety of reasons. All aspects of governance must be taken into account while delineating any meaningful strategy for the country's taxation machinery. All other government departments too need improvement; they need to be rid of corrupt practices. What the prime minister said the other day about the performance of various ministries and departments adds to one's pessimism about country's economic development prospects.
RASHID KHAN (KARACHI)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020