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KARACHI: Chairman Businessmen Panel (BMP) Mian Anjum Nisar has sought extensive consultation of business community in reviewing new policies on trade, investment and other economic issues, including restructure of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Appreciating the government for initiating the Self-assessment Income scheme, announcing 'no-harassment policy' from the FBR and withdrawal of notices to the businessmen, Mian Anjum Nisar said that businessmen should be heard and their problems should be resolved, adding if the trade and industry is not satisfied, the country cannot prosper.

In pursuance of the prime minister's vision and directives for enhanced interaction of the government functionaries with the business community and due consultation on important economic issues for result-oriented policies, the government high-ups should hold regular meetings with the businessmen to get their inputs on key economic decisions, he suggested.

The business community wants the government to take them along as the major stakeholder and adopt concrete recommendations from them, he said.

It can debate businessmen recommendations in such a way that the IMF's conditions may not breach, as well as, their interests are guarded too, because the trade and industry is the real partner and they should feel this partnership with the government.

"We hope that self-assessment scheme would be launched very soon wherein the businessmen would declare their incomes, themselves, in their returns and the government would have the option of using third-party audit in case of doubt in declaration in returns. It is really admirable that the FBR would remain out even in these cases while the filer would have to respond and satisfy the third-party audit team, he added.

He said that during the past three years of the incumbent government, it had faced numerous economic challenges which were also aggravated by the pandemic. However, the government has quite successfully progressed from recovery and stabilization of the national economy to its sustainable growth.

The impact of the federal government's timely and appropriate measures is visible in the form of an economic recovery on the back of broad-based growth across all sectors. Now Pakistan's economy is moving progressively on a higher inclusive and sustainable growth path on the back of various measures and resultant achievements despite a myriad of challenges, he said.

For this fiscal year there is an anticipation of favorable weather conditions as the GDP is targeted to grow at 4.8 percent, said Mian Anjum.

The agriculture sector is likely to grow by 3.5 percent based on the revival of cotton, water availability, certified seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and agriculture credit facilities, he said, adding the industrial sector is expected to maintain its momentum and is targeted to grow at 6.2 percent.

He hailed the decision of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin for directing the FBR to withdraw notices to the business community and the beginning of self-assessment scheme wherein businessmen would declare their incomes honestly in their returns, asking him to get it implemented at the earliest to facilitate the trade and industry.

The FPCCI ex-president and the Businessmen Panel Chairman said also lauded the government plan of bringing taxable income into the tax net through artificial intelligence, as the country needs tax money and, for this purpose, broadening the tax base is important.

The businessmen stand with the tax authorities to collect data of 15 million people, who were not in the tax net, assisting them to probe such people who concealed their income and are not on the tax net, he said.

Mian Anjum Nisar said that artificial intelligence has the potential to incrementally add 16% or about $13 trillion by 2030 to current global economic output.

He said artificial intelligence technologies and applications would boost world GDP by up to 14% over the next decade, as the AI is poised to deliver big economic opportunities for those companies and workers who are best positioned.

The businessmen support the government's move of using option of third-party audit and curtailing the role of the FBR further in fixing the declaration in returns, as the decision would give confidence to the businessmen to promote their businesses and play their role in economic growth, he concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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