Pakistan overreacting to pandemic. Closing industrial sector is easy, restarting difficult. Reviving economy is a challenge, hefty tax relief needed. Port and detention charges, NIC condition be waived.

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(April 03, 2020)

FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel SVP, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said coronavirus has not damaged Pakistan as much as it has devastated other countries. The incidence of pandemic is not very severe in the country but the reaction is more than desired, he added.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that closing down industrial sector is easy but restarting operations is not a piece of cake.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that a plan should be devised to reopen the industrial sector gradually while the economy should be improved by waiving off withholding tax on bank transactions and deferring NIC condition for one year.

The former minister noted that business community has not accepted WHT on transactions and has invented ways to bypass it. Similarly, collection of three percent additional sales tax from unregistered buyers is damaging the economy.

He said that industrial sector and importers are already paying 17 percent sales tax therefore there is no justification in collecting additional taxes.

The business leader noted that waiving WHT on bank transactions and deferring NIC condition will provide relief to the business community and masses, it will reduce inflation and improve confidence while many businesses will escape bankruptcy saving jobs. He said that many countries have waived or reduced taxes which include sales tax, value-added tax, services tax, personal tax, import duties, etc. Fines have been waived to reduced substantially, wage subsidy has been introduced and refund system has been improved.

He said that port and detention charges of importers should be waived and other steps should be followed to improve the overall situation. Tax audit and notices should be stopped and the deduction of social security and taxes from the salaries should be stopped immediately.

He said that coronavirus has stopped productive activity in many developed countries having strong economies despite hefty packages, therefore, steps are needed to revive Pakistan’s weak economy.

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