KARACHI: The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has demanded that the government should retain the CNIC condition on retail sales in the upcoming federal budget.

The demand by OICCI followed the recommendations by various trade bodies that called for abolishing the CNIC requirement. “Representing the largest group of tax contributors, OICCI strongly rejects such a demand in view of the need to broaden the tax base in Pakistan. It is no secret that the tax collection, especially from the retail trade and some other cash-based segments, is well below the economic activity on the ground.

“The tax-to-GDP ratio at below 10 per cent is one of the indicators of the huge tax evasion,” it said in a recent letter to Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Asim Ahmad.

The representative body of multinationals operating in Pakistan said it strongly advocates the broadening of the tax base, documentation of the economy and simplification of the tax regime — necessary steps to promote the ease of doing business and enhance revenue collection in proportion to the economic potential of the country.

OICCI recommended that the tax authorities should use technology and data analytics, including artificial intelligence tools, to better utilise the National Database Registration Authority data to ensure that all income earners become return filers.

“Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the scope of the CNIC use for all economic activity be expanded in the upcoming fiscal budget along with other measures to broaden the tax base, reflecting the true economic activity,” it said.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2022

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