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Trade bodies for improving ease of doing business

Updated April 17, 2019

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The FPCCI proposed proposed that professionals such as doctors and lawyers must be taxed as most of them are not documented despite earning huge money. ─ File photo
The FPCCI proposed proposed that professionals such as doctors and lawyers must be taxed as most of them are not documented despite earning huge money. ─ File photo

ISLAMABAD: Business community on Tuesday proposed various measures to the government for the upcoming budget to improve ease of doing business, enhancing tax revenues and boost economic growth.

The proposals were made during a meeting of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance, Revenues, and Economic Affairs.

Presenting a joint proposal for Federal Budget 2019-20 by All Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Kamal Amjad Mian from Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the number of taxes must be reduced to five by clubbing labour-related taxes such as Employees Old-Age Benefits Association, the Punjab Employees Social Security Institutions, Workers Welfare Fund, professional and property tax, and federal and provincial sales tax.

The proposed five taxes include corporate tax, labour tax, vehicle tax, and sales tax.

Meanwhile, presenting the proposals to the committee, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Daroo Khan said the government should make a comprehensive policy to encourage people to establish industries in the country.

He said the government should announce tax exemptions for 10 years to those who build their industrial units within a time period of three years.

He said industrialisation would not only help increase employment opportunities but also will generate more revenues for the government through sales tax.

The government should expand the tax net by documenting the economy and retailers, and small shopkeepers must be brought into tax net but the rate of tax on them should not be more than 1 per cent.

The FPCCI demanded that the sales tax should immediately be reduced from current 17pc to 15pc while it should be further reduced by cutting down by 1pc annually. The corporate sector is heavily taxed at the rate of 29pc which is too high and should be cut down to 25pc, he added. Personal income tax of 20pc is also too high and must be reduced.

The FPCCI proposed that professionals such as doctors and lawyers must be taxed as most of them are not documented despite earning huge money.

Representatives from Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the government should provide subsidy on the solar power equipment by 20-25pc to enable industrialists to establish their own electricity panels to produce cheaper electricity.

Member of the committee Aisha Ghaus Pasha said all the proposals should be considered seriously and asked the committee chairman to get feedback on these proposals from other stakeholders.—APP

Trade negotiations

Adviser to PM on Commerce and Textile briefed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Tuesday about the progress on trade negotiations with China, the US, and Turkey.

He said that following his visit to China, both sides are expected to finalise the items list for reciprocal duty-free trade.

Beijing on Monday offered market access similar to Pakistan after seven years of negotiations. Finance Secretary Mohammad Younus Dagha said the Chinese government has agreed to immediately reduce duties on 313 tariff lines to zero.

However, he said that Turkey is unwilling to provide market access to Pakistani textile products and pointed out that Ankara is also considering the imposition of regulatory duties on imports from Pakistan. He added the US is also not willing to give preferential market access to Pakistani goods.

MNA Khurram Shahzad criticised the 33pc increase in the cost of raw material during the tenure of PTI-led government. He said that the government devalued the rupee by almost 15pc but these measures will not help increase exports.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2019