KARACHI: While traders and industry have been quite unanimous in their resistance to the government’s plans to impose a 10 per cent Super Tax on 13 large industries and other harsh measures in the budget 2022-23, the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) have waded in on the government’s side, saying that unpopular decisions were being taken in the “larger national interest”.
Insiders in the business community said that the government has given some kind of solid assurances to the KCCI and FPCCI that the tough budgetary measures, especially the super tax that had sparked anger among the business community, are likely to be resolved very soon.
They said Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had already hinted at the KCCI regarding the removal of anti-business decisions which would be announced on Tuesday.
This positive signal from the government could be gauged from Monday’s statement of KCCI president Muhammad Idrees who reaffirmed his support for the government. He said there was no doubt that the prime minister and finance minister were taking unpopular decisions but these efforts need to continue in the larger interest of the economy.
Statements come days after Shabbir Mansha had categorically denounced levy of super tax
“The business and industrial community stand with the government and is ready to play its role in the face of tough times,” he said, urging the people to must recognise the need for unity in these trying times and work with the government.
KCCI chief hoped that the government’s efforts combined with the resilient nature of the people of the country would soon yield results.
FPCCI Senior Vice President Suleman Chawala on June 25 claimed that the apex chamber stood with the government so that by promoting business and industrial activities, Pakistan could be pulled out of the severe economic crisis and the country could be economically stable again.
He believed that tough decisions taken by the finance minister would make Pakistan strong again economically and as a nation.
“We support Miftah Ismail in cleaning the mess created by Dar-nomics and PTI policies. These hard decisions are the requirement of the hour. We as Pakistanis and the business community need to come out of our comfort zones to help Pakistan revive again,” he vowed.
“The corporate businesses and individuals need to come forward and support the government and back the tough decisions taken to ensure the revival of Pakistan. We all must contribute to this cause,” Mr Chawala said.
Contrary to the above, FPCCI’s Acting President Shabbir Mansha on June 24 categorically denounced the imposition of super tax saying the large industries have already been paying hefty corporate tax of 29pc besides generating millions of jobs as well. No country in the world can charge 39pc tax to corporations and still keep the economy afloat, he added. Additionally, new private-sector and foreign investments dry up completely in an uncompetitive market.
The acting FPCCI chief had also expressed his shock that the federal budget 2022-23 was announced just two weeks back and it mentioned no super tax on industries. It is a highly abrupt, unfortunate and anti-industry measure.
He urged the government not to squeeze the existing taxpayers further and look for other avenues to broaden the tax net.
He also pointed out several glaring anomalies in the budget relating to customs duty, regulatory duty, income tax and sales tax, urging the government to immediately rectify them.
On June 24, an Anomaly Committee constituted by the Ministry of Finance under the chairmanship of Zubair Motiwala held its meeting in Islamabad.
Mr Miftah, after discussing some important points, assured the business community of rectifying 95pc of the anomalies suggested by the committee.
Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022