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LAHORE: The Consortium for Development Policy Research (CDPR) in collaboration with the British High Commission’s Revenue Mobilization Investment and Trade (REMIT) programme held a day-long consultative workshop on “Tax Reforms for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth”, here the other day.

The purpose of the workshop was to generate a dialogue on tax reform with a focus on improving the performance of various federal taxes in terms of both willingness to pay and collection. It also aims to provide input into the upcoming budget to support the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

In light of this the workshop was divided into three separate panel discussions on income tax, sales tax and customs tariff. In attendance at this workshop were eminent economists, legal experts, representatives from Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Inland Revenue Services (IRS), and business community. Moderating this workshop was Dr Sher Afgan Asad of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

Usman Khan (REMIT Programme), Dr Ijaz Nabi (Chairperson, CDPR) and Dr Hamid Ateeq Sarwar (Tax Lead, REMIT Programme) took the floor at the beginning of the workshop to express the need for tax reforms and how CDPR and REMIT Programme, through the workshop, aim to generate a discourse on inclusive, growth oriented revenue generation.

In the first session on enhancing the income tax base Shahid Hussain (CEO, Services Group) emphasized that “compliance is an integral part of tax collection and where Pakistan is lagging behind the rest of the world”.

Dr Ijaz Nabi highlighted that the public ends up paying taxes in one form or the other regardless, if tax compliance is low this will be offset by the rising inflation, hence it is imperative for the smooth functioning and growth of the country that internal revenue collection rises to a point where we no longer need to turn to the international agencies for loans.

The session on sales tax highlighted the problems that arise from fragmentation of sales taxes between the federal and provincial governments. This leads to trans-provincial businesses incurring higher cost-of-doing-business as opposed to businesses operating in single provinces.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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