Businessmen Group chairman and former president Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Siraj Kassam Teli and KCCI president Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan said, "Prime Minister Imran Khan talks a lot about change and justice but it is a matter of grave concern and a sheer injustice to the taxpayers when our prime minister claims that nobody wants to pay taxes. The loyal taxpayers contribute billions of rupees each year which are being utilized to run the government yet they (the taxpayers) are being discouraged as they stand at the same array where the tax thieves and evaders were standing."
While disagreeing to PM Imran Khan's remarks wherein he accuses everyone for not paying taxes across the board, appealed to make public the city-wise tax collection so that everyone could know which city is paying what taxes and which isn't and running away from the national obligation. they said although there are gaps in the taxation system but that cannot be made the reason to call all the countrymen tax thieves hence, the Prime Minister Imran Khan may please correct his statement.
Referring to a press conference by Adviser Finance Hafeez Shaikh and FBR chairman Shabbar Zaidi held to respond to Small Traders' reservations along with a recent FBR data, they said as per FBR statistics, the small traders of Karachi paid tax of Rs 30 billion while the traders from Lahore paid a mere amount of just Rs 567.7 million and the situation in other cities was much worse. Hence, BMG chairman and KCCI president urged the Prime Minister Imran Khan, Adviser Finance Hafeez Shaikh, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar and FBR chairman Shabbar Zaidi to publicize the city-wise data of all other taxes including Income Tax, Sales Tax, Custom Duty and Federal Excise Duty in detail so that the ground realities could be revealed.
"We believe that the actual contribution of Karachi, which is the economic hub of the country contributing 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer, has to be publicized without any excuse of being the port city with a precise breakup of tax collection from the ports and dry ports along with details of the imported items belonging to which city and the consignee, besides carrying detailed fragmented tax collection from the head offices of corporate entities and their branches located in all parts of the country which would surely present the actual city-wise contribution", they suggested.
Siraj Teli and Agha Shahab further said, "We agree that many individuals and corporate entities from different areas of the country may not be paying their taxes to the level they should but that doesn't mean that nobody was paying taxes. It is highly unfair to give such statement as it creates a false impression. Realistically, there are millions of individuals and corporate entities who are paying all their taxes. The FBR and Ministry of Finance should be told to get those individuals first who are paying zero tax instead of furthering squeezing the existing tax payers."
They hoped that the Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon issue strict directives to the Ministry of Finance and the FBR to compile city-wise data of tax collection and the same will also be publicized at the earliest.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2019