(May 08, 2019)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Tuesday welcomed the decision of the Prime Minister to appoint new Chairman FBR from the private sector. The government didn’t rely on the bureaucrats for the important post which indicates their seriousness in improving things and enhancing revenue collection, he said.
The Veteran Business Leader said that the business community will fully cooperate with the Chairman FBR Syed Shabbar Zaidi and give him positive recommendations aimed at the betterment of the economy. He said that Mr. Zaidi is a globally known expert who has in-depth knowledge of the Pakistani economy and the problems which are holding it back. Improving revenue collection without hurting masses and existing taxpayers would be his most important test while the business community hope that he will also introduce transparency, simplicity, and tackle the weaknesses of the system professionally. Mr. Zaidi is well aware of the elements getting undue tax exemptions worth billions, tax cheats, and different mafias milking masses. He also knows a lot about rural economy and we hope that his actions will strengthen the agriculture sector which is the largest job providing sector.
The Former Minister noted that IMF has demanded to abolish tax exemptions worth Rs 700 billion, privatize state-run corporations which is favored by the business community but resisted by the governments, and enhance revenue collection to Rs 5550 billion which currently stands at 4000 billion. FBR is not responsible for low collections as there are structural flaws in the system while bringing middlemen, small and micro business in the tax net can help fetch additional 1000 billion rupees, he said.
IMF also wants interest rates to be increased by 75 to 100 percent, increase the tariff of gas and electricity and abolish subsidies. He said that the IMF’s demands are not according to the ground realities and it targets the documented economy which is just 35 percent of the whole. IMF negotiators should understand that jobs and taxes are directly linked to businesses and that closed businesses are good for nothing. He said that the real difficult confronting Pakistan is not economic but trade-related and stagnant exports are the root cause of the problems.