Karachi, May 26, 2016 (PPI-OT): Sindh Minister for Finance, Energy, Planning and Development (P and D) and Irrigation Syed Murad Ali Shah, after thoroughly listening to Karachi Chamber’s concerns and its suggestions, said that two separate meetings will be held next week to thoroughly discuss KCCI’s budget proposals and to redress the problems being faced by Business and Industrial community in dealing with Sindh Revenue Board (SRB).
Exchanging views during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the Minister added that most of the issues raised in today’s meeting were pertaining to SRB which will be discussed in detail at SRB’s Office whereas KCCI’s suggestions for budget will also be deliberated in a separate meeting next week with a view to reach consensus over suggestions and accordingly, incorporate the same in the forthcoming budget.
Sindh Minister for Local Government Jam Khan Shoro, Secretary Finance Sohail Rajput, Chairman Sindh Revenue Board Tashfeen Khalid Niaz, Chairman Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairmen BMG and Former Presidents KCCI Tahir Khaliq, Zubair Motiwala and Haroon Farooki, President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, Senior Vice President KCCI Zia Ahmed Khan, Vice President KCCI Naeem Sharif, Former President KCCI AQ Khalil and KCCI Managing Committee members were present on the occasion.
Expressing dismay over the attitude of Federal government, he said that this was not a business friendly government but they will now have to change and have to focus on Sindh. Unfortunately they were not doing it, which has resulted in intensifying the problems for Sindh government. “If Sindh government comes out to protest against federal government’s approach, will you (Business community of Karachi) support us”, he asked.
BMG Chairman Siraj Kassam Teli, while immediately agreeing to Murad Ali Shah’s opinion about Federal Government, assured that he will surely accompany the Minister in any press conference to be held in connection with protesting the approach of federal government. Responding to the grievances being faced by indenters due to SRB notices, the Minister assured that no notices will be issued until the issue of Services Sales Tax on indenters is amicably resolved.
Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Minister for Local Government Jam Khan Shoro informed that some of the mega projects at an estimated cost of Rs10 billion will be initiated for development of road infrastructure of Karachi which include expansion of Shahrah-e-Faisal, remodelling of underpasses, construction of roads and flyovers at University Road and many similar projects in different localities.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli said that people of Karachi have been facing the step motherly attitude from the federal government. It was a matter of grave concern that the present government, during the last three budgets, has granted discretionary powers by cut-pasting the controversial excise laws.
He said that nobody at the Assembly accepts the massive revenue contribution of 65 percent by Karachi city and keep giving excuses that the enormous contribution by Karachi was probably due to ports which was not factual. “It is a matter of grave concern that nobody at the National Assembly bothers to highlight the thefts and wrongdoing going on at the dry ports”, he added.
He said that FBR has ruined the business climate of Karachi and it was very disappointing that the federal government was more focused on Lahore and less on Karachi. “We don’t know to whom we take our case to as the federal government has been creating problems through the FBR and now, the PPP government has also started doing the same by sending SRB notices”, he added.
“We will only support SRB if it takes the right move but will surely oppose them if they take wrong moves”, he added. Siraj Teli said that SRB has the right to collect taxes but the procedure needs to be reviewed and they must revisit the way they deal with business and industrial community and strictly avoid arm-twisting tactics.
He urged the Finance Minister to give an exact deadline for resolving the issues faced by the business and industrial community in dealing with SRB. On the occasion, Chairman SRB Tashfeen Khalid Niaz, while terming an FBR letter containing clarification of Services Sector as ‘illegal’, said that this letter was unacceptable for him.
Vice Chairmen BMG and Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala stated that Sindh province was blessed with abundant natural resources and it was capable enough to become the power house for the entire country due to massive coal reserves, efficient wind tunnels, ports and enormous gas reserves etc.
Referring to imposition of GIDC, he said that the business and industrial community was compelled to pay this unjust cess which must be waived in the larger interest of the country because of the fact that the imposition of GIDC has resulted in descending Pakistan’s exports by US$2.5 billion.
Vice Chairman BMG and Former President KCCI Haroon Farooki underscored that the FBR and SRB must sit together to clarify and agree upon a proper definition of Services Sector. He said that FBR gives a different definition while the SRB gives another which has triggered confusion amongst business community.
He also sought Minister’s assistance in dealing with the harassment being caused to Business and Industrial Community by Electric Inspectors who harass the businessmen and industrialists with a view to gain financial benefit.
Earlier, while welcoming the Sindh Ministers, President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir said that Karachi contributes around 65 percent revenue to the national exchequer whereas other cities simply don’t want to pay taxes. Instead of taking action against tax evaders, the government continues to squeeze the business and industrial community of Karachi city only.
He was of the view that gas, electricity and water crisis along with dilapidated infrastructure have resulted in raising the cost of doing business and constrained the industrialists to keep their activities limited, resulting in rising poverty and unemployment in Sindh. Former President KCCI AQ Khalil, in his remarks, urged the government that instead of overburdening the existing taxpayers, the government should seriously focus taxing the agriculture sector at par with other sectors.
He said that the income of indenters of the import business, should not be subjected to additional tax of 14 percent Services Sales Tax (SST) which should be withdrawn in this year’s budget. “There is also a need to rationalize and harmonize provincial taxes in order to make businesses competitive”, he added.
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