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FAISALABAD: Serious and dedicated efforts would be made to resolve the problems confronted by the exporters and SME sector in next federal budget, said Tariq Mahmood Pasha Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Revenue.

In a meeting with Dr. Khurram Tariq, President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI), he said that government would consult the business community to ensure sustained economic growth. He said that no doubt Pakistan was facing critical situation and we have to fulfill the conditionalities of IMF while finalizing budget proposals. He said that our focus is on providing conducive business climate and business community must play its proactive role to drag Pakistan out of the protracted economic crisis.

He was appreciative of the proposals presented by the Dr. Khurram Tariq and said that each and every suggestion would be discussed at the highest forum and efforts would be made to include these in the budget document.

Dr. Khurram Tariq said that Faisalabad was badly hit due to the tight economic policies which have negative impact on the trade and industry. He said that government should realize the ground realities while giving final touch to the federal budget as we share common objective to revive the economy in the prevailing scenario. Dr Khurram particularly mentioned dwindling exports despite devaluation of PKR and said that urgent and prudent actions are required to give maximum support to the exporters as well as SME sector. He also mentioned liquidity crunch as capital of exporters have been stuck up in the refund regime and they are unable to get running finances from the banks at unbearable high mark up rate. He demanded that government should expedite the payment of refund claims in addition to reviving SRO-1125. About broadening of tax base, he said that multiplicity of taxes has added to the miseries of the existing taxpayers.

He said that tax payers are squeezed while on the other hand the non-filers are enjoying tax free status. He said that broadening of tax base is the only available option to enhance revenue collection. He further said that withholding taxes applied on non-filers in the real estate and other informal sectors should be made punitive in nature to discourage this practice. He said that the tax rates for filers must be reduced so that the burden on responsible and compliant taxpayers is reduced significantly.

He also proposed measures to increase revenue collection from the under taxed sectors. Commenting on the real estate, he said that income tax which is currently worked out on the basis of per square feet on builders and property developers should be increased. Similarly, the housing societies developing and selling land should be made liable to pay 2% income tax on the FBR value of such land. During this meeting Member Inland Revenue and Senior Vice President FCCI Dr. Sajjad Arshad were also present.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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