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KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Wednesday expressed its serious reservations over some of the measures proposed in the federal budget.

Speaking at a post-budget conference held at the Federation House here, FPCCI president Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo said that the federal government had not incorporated FPCCI proposals in the federal budget.

He said that the proposed amendment to Section 203 would increase the powers of the assistant commissioner, and the taxpayers “would be subjected to harassment” whereas those outside the tax net would continue to enjoy without any fear of such action. Therefore, it is recommended to delete this provision.

He said that this budget would add more difficulties for the importers and would affect the supply chain, adding that inclusion of retailers in smuggling was not justified as they could not produce original goods declaration hence retailers should not be held responsible for the act which is beyond their scope.

Furthermore, he said that the proposal to streamline the Sixth Schedule and to withdraw all exemptions other than relating to basic food items, health and education, would result in the imposition of sales tax to a large number of items which would increase the prices of the commodities and affect the common man.

Similarly, the FPCCI has recommended to the government to not to include import of plants and machinery in the standard sales tax regime through the budget to promote industrialization as it was previously subjected to the reduced rate of the sales tax.

The exemption from the levy of the FED is being given to the industrial units in FATA and PATA irrespective of the quantities consumed in those areas.

Therefore, it is recommended that the facility may be given to them to the extent of the quantity consumed there. Otherwise it will disturb the equilibrium of all the operating units in the rest of the country, he added.

He said that the bill had proposed exclusion of the public limited companies (listed and unlisted) from restrictions of Section 8B whereby they could now adjust 100% input tax for the tax period from their output liability and will not suffer further liquidity issues when they already have lower value additions and operating profits, adding that the business community would seek clarification over why all benefits are given to the public limited companies in case of food, there is only one public limited company in the country, and the entire operating units are treated differently with higher taxation and denied a level-playing field.

The FPCCI demanded that the audit parameters must be defined, and taxpayers should be given an option to choose third-party audit.

The FPCCI president appreciated the proposed withdrawal of withholding tax, but said that the procedure of the WHT should be simplified, and its audit parameters needed to be decided with the FPCCI.

Meanwhile, FPCCI vice president Nasir Khan said that the impression of imposing no new tax in the budget was wrong because tax exemptions on many items were proposed to be withdrawn.

He said that 95 percent of the budget was for the elite, and the concessions being given to only five sectors should be extended to other export sectors as well, and the single-window system should be further improved.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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