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KARACHI: Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, Mian Zahid Hussain said that genuine reforms have never been initiated in any sector.

He said that many governments have deceived international lenders and masses with lip service, but now it has become impossible to run the country by avoiding reforms.

He said that the IMF has been duped continuously for decades, which has made its attitude very rigid. Now, the loan will be received after real reforms, and the country could be run. The IMF’s focus has been on reforming the FBR. Despite spending billions of rupees in the past, FBR could not be reformed to a satisfactory level.

He said that the documentation of the economy has become a compulsion that needs to be supported by the rich beneficiaries of the existing flawed system.

The IMF is increasing pressure on Pakistan to find new taxpayers and stop tax evasion, which is in line with the country’s interests, because, without it, it is impossible to get the country out of the debt problem. Realizing this situation, the political and military leadership have jointly taken various measures to expand the tax net, which is commendable. In this regard, bringing wholesalers and retailers into the tax net is the most difficult step, and it requires political commitment.

He said that all such efforts have failed in the past, but now there is no other option left. Over three million retailers must be brought into the tax net, and in this regard, the campaign has been initially launched in five major cities of the country. The minimum advance income tax limit for shopkeepers has been set at 12 rupees, while a 25% discount will also be available on lump sum payments. If this scheme is successful, it is expected to increase the country’s income by five hundred billion rupees, which will help the country’s economy to some extent. But in proportion to the size of our economy, Pakistan’s tax revenue must be 14 thousand billion rupees.

He noted that if the process of bringing non-filers and non-taxpayers into the tax net continues, the situation will improve in a few years, and the government will be able to provide better health, education, law and order, infrastructure, and social security to the people. There is a dire need for fundamental reforms and privatization in the energy sector to avoid repeated increases in the price of electricity, gas, and fuel.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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