Lahore, May 24, 2016 (PPI-OT): President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Muhammad Arshad has said that the Lahore Chamber would leave no stone unturned to raise the voice of business community. Government should avoid imposition of new taxes in the federal budget and should resolve the issue of withholding tax so that business community could play its due role in economic uplift of the country.
He was talking to a high-powered delegation of various markets, led by Khalid Pervez, here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday. The LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed and former LCCI President Muhammad Ali Mian also spoke on the occasion while other members of the delegation were Abdul Razzaq Bubber, Mujahid Maqsood Butt, Mian Waqar, Babar Ali, Ghulam Sarwar Malik, Shahid Bilal and others.
Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that business community is backbone of the economy therefore government would have to resolve withholding tax, difficult taxation system, double taxation and undue interference of government departments in business activities related issues on priority.
The LCCI President said that ongoing projects under CPEC have direct relation with economic development. He urged the government to ensure that concerned Chinese investors and companies engaged in CPEC must consider the indigenously produced inputs from Pakistan except those goods which are not produced locally.
He said that Pakistan lacks culture of tax compliance due to unfair taxation system. Elimination of harmful taxation that hinders business and trade in the country was unanimously demanded. He said that we want broad based reforms in taxation system with the consultation of private sector.
Withholding tax regime needs to be reviewed and withholding agents should be given certain incentives.
Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that business community has serious concerns upon the selection criteria of cases for tax audits. He said that selection of audit should be made on the basis of parameters by FBR through random balloting rather than allowing the concerned commissioners to use their discretionary powers. He said that we have serious reservations with regard to current performance of FBR for disbursing refund cases Sales Tax and Income Tax. The Exporters are suffering the most because they are facing serious issues of shortage of working capital. All the backlog of refunds should be cleared within two months upon the filing of return. Similarly banking bonds may be issued for large amount of refunds withheld since years.
He said that withholding tax is advance tax but, FBR treats the same as its collection. The annual budget of field formations should be on gross collection basis and not on net collection. He said that federal and provincial sales tax authorities should agree on constitution of fully empowered National Tax Commission to bring in harmony in the sales tax laws dealing with services. There must be harmonization in Federal and Provincial tax regime to counter double taxation and harassment by the Provincial Tax Authorities.
“An efficient tax judiciary is essential to give confidence to taxpayers. Without simplifying the tax adjudication process, no scheme can produce desired results. Existing 4-tier appeal system under the tax laws—direct and indirect— should be replaced with two-tier system”, he added.
Khalid Pervez demanded of the government to withdraw withholding tax on banking transactions immediately as it is not only forced business community to avoid banking transactions but also causing huge damage to the banking sector. He also urged the government to resolve the energy crisis with solid measures. Abdul Razzaq Bubber, Mujahid Maqsood Butt and Shahid Bilal also demanded withdrawal of withholding tax.
Former LCCI President Muhammad Ali Mian said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry is quite active to get the issues of business community resolved. He said that role of traders is important in economic development.
Vice President Nasir Saeed also welcomed the proposals of business community and presented vote of thanks.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan