Business community to cooperate with FBR in widening tax net

Islamabad—The United Business Group (UBG) of FPCCI on Wednesday asked the government to focus on fast track industrialization and broadening tax base in the next budget to boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. The government must frame policies to facilitate industrial sector for job creation, revenue generation and exports to push GDP growth beyond 5.5 percent, said Zubair Tufail, Secretary General of the UBG, said a press release here. Pakistan consumes more than it produces resulting in wide gap between the demand and supply which results in imports that is the root cause of inflation and trade and current account deficits bridged through loans.
Zubair Tufail said that boosting domestic production through proper industrialization to reduce imports is the only solution. Policy-makers need to review the import list and identify items which can be produced locally like energy, engineering and foodstuff and fertiliser etc. to cut import bill. He said that government must follow the competing nations that have allowed import of plant and machinery without any duty or sales tax as taxing capital goods discourage local and foreign investors. Zubair Tufail said that many foreign investors have found better opportunity for investment in other countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand etc. which must be pondered upon.
The authorities must realise that imports are making negative contribution to the GDP which is not sustainable while subsidized exports cannot make industry globally competitive. He said that FBR should be reformed while non-filers should be netted as the current number of filers is about one million which must be doubled in one year for which business community will fully cooperate with authorities. FBR must initiate serious consultation with the business community with an aim to present a peoples friendly budget.
The veteran business leader said that around 5000 megawatt of electricity will be added in the national grid in the first half of 2018 which will eliminate energy outages while the industrial sector will be the major buyer which should be given relief in electricity and LNG prices. The upcoming budget should reduce sufferings of masses, especially low income families, otherwise the poor will take to the streets, he warned.—APP

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