(20th June 2018)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said merger of FATA and PATA with Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province is an historical decision which is appreciated. This decision will positively impact the region and will create various opportunities for the people and the Country but traders and industrialists are worrying due to controversies in announced and approved tax packages by Government and FBR respectively. Immediate remedial measures required.
The business community of Ex FATA and PATA while talking to Mian Zahid Hussain expresses that according to federal board of revenue’s notification five years tax exemption was announced by the economic coordination committee (ECC) to FATA and PATA but details in the package announced are completely different, which has created panic across the local business community. As per the Government authorities, sales and income tax exemption will be allowed to everyone including industrial sector in the region as of before merger but in the said FBR notification exemption is only extended to individuals. Industries and traders have not been included in the exemption which is amazingly against the government’s promises.
The former minister said that traders and industrialists are bound in this notification to get registered with September 30, 2018 with FBR which is against the announcements made at the time of merger.Domestic consumers have been given tax exemption on retail goods but traders and industrialists have not been included. Exemption from withholding tax have not been granted on salaries which is principally wrong. Sales tax exemption on electricity consumption is also given only to domestic consumers; industrial sector is unfortunately not included in the exemption.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that tax exemption to new industries has been subjected to the approval of ECC which is equally discouraging for local and international investors. The speaker of the KPK assembly has also raised his concern by writing the matter to the speaker of National Assembly. To achieve benefits of merger to the fullest, it is necessary to address and resolve the issue faced and highlighted by the traders and industrialists.
He said that with implementation of taxes on the people deprived of basic needs will made them suffer more. A better alternative should be announced for tribal people to include them in the national development through their active participation in the economic growth of the country. The Government should reissue the corrected notification in accordance to the prior announcement of Government with immediate effect so that the tribal area may equally take part in the development of the country, he requested.