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Government must carve out a simple, viable and result-oriented strategy to broaden tax base instead of adding extra burden on the existing taxpayers and in this connection at least 11 million electricity users out of total 29 million could be easily brought into the tax net by utilising already computerised data available with various distribution companies.
Addressing a meeting of the FCCI standing committee on R&D and CPEC, former Vice President Engineer Ahmad Hassan told that according to the available data, the number of consumers of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has increased to 20.85 million during July-March 2011-12, as compared to 20.12 million in the same period in the preceding year. He further told that the number of consumers have increased due to repaid expansion of the electricity network to villages and other un-electrified areas of the country. He further told that the consumption of electricity by economic groups reveals that the domestic sector has been the largest user. During 2011-18, the consumption pattern, more or less remained the same with domestic share at 53 percent, industrial 28 percent, commercial 8 percent and agricultural nearly 11 percent.
Quoting the available data, he told that the total consumers could be divided into four categories i.e. domestic, industrial, commercial and agriculture for tax collection purpose. "However, the domestic consumer whose income is more than Rs 50,000 should fall in domestic category," he told and added that as per best estimate, at least 5 percent out of 53 percent respective consumers could be brought into tax collection system. As far as industrial and commercial consumers are concerned, 100 percent of such consumers could be included in the tax collection system. "However agriculture should be totally exempt from tax collections," he added. He told that it is apparent that 11.2885 million users out of total 29 million users could be covered in tax collection in addition to exploring new taxpayers.
"This massive collection could change the fate of our country," he opined.
Regarding Industry-Academia linkages, Engineer Ahmed Hasan told that Faisalabad has large number of universities in addition to leading research institutes. "Unlucky we could not create a congenial environment in which both sectors could not work with harmony and confidence," he said and urged upon the members of the standing committee to submit viable proposals to bridge the gap between industry and academia.
The meeting was also attended by Engineer Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, Dr Habib Aslam Gaba, Muzmil Sultan, Dr Khurrum Tariq and Muhammad Amjad Khwaja.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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