Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said tax and other measures will comfort the government but add to the problems of the masses.
The tough decisions of the government will help it borrow from IMF but will not help address the economy’s fundamental flaws, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that in the remaining four months of this fiscal year, the government’s deficit will be reduced by the new taxes of 170 billion. Details released about the decision include raising the sales tax from 17 to 18 percent and increasing duties on the cigarette industry, air travel, and beverages, among other measures.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that an increase of 40 billion rupees in the funding of the Benazir Income Support Program, which has been increased from 360 billion rupees to 400 billion rupees is welcome.
He said that contrary to the claims the new tax measures will affect people because the government is still preferring indirect tax instead of direct tax, which affects the people and poverty increases rapidly.
Even in this critical situation when the country is going bankrupt there is no possibility of increasing the tax net which is sad.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that increasing the tax rate is not a permanent solution to the problems, but a temporary effort that will not bring the economy out of ICU.
The size of Pakistan’s economy is 300 billion dollars, from which 10 thousand billion rupees should be collected in taxes, but on the contrary, only 7 thousand billion rupees are collected as taxes, 80 percent of which consists of direct taxes, he said.
Concrete and lasting steps have to be taken to improve the economy. It is necessary to eliminate circular debt, electricity and gas theft, and losses of government institutions which are not possible without political stability.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the implementation of the IMF conditionality is improving the financial position of the government while improving the value of the rupee, which is reducing the cost of doing business, but many manufacturers have not reduced the price of their produce.
There has been no reduction in the price which needs to be noticed so as to provide relief to the people suffering from inflation, he demanded.