Shabbar Zaidi sounds serious about taxing retail imports

Mr. S.M. Shabbar Zaidi, Chairman FBR, sent out a loud warning to smugglers and declared that starting from the 1st of September the FBR was declaring war at the retail level where non-taxed imported goods were flooding the market to the great detriment of the national exchequer. The manufacturing sector, he said, was bearing the brunt of taxation while the trade and unorganized services sector was getting off scot-free.

The Management Association of Pakistan (MAP) celebrated its 55th anniversary at its 21st Convention, with Mr. S.M.Shabbar Zaidi sounding more than just a warning note on the delicate state of Pakistan’s economy as it comes to grips with a long overdue overhaul of the taxation system that will add value to the present dismal tax to GDP ratio. He made it amply clear that the import led Dubai Model of economic development would not work, and if Pakistanis kept parking their money overseas then the crisis at home would no doubt go from bad to worse.

He said that no tangible investment had been made in the last 70 years, and we were all complicit in running two Pakistans, one for the Haves and the other for the Have-nots. Mr. Zaidi said that we have been too inconsistent in our policy-making, and in the last 40 years we have divorced the Books of Accounts from the Taxation system. We do not have reliable data and the documentation of the economy remains wishful thinking.

Mr. Zaidi spoke of the complete disharmony between the mindsets of the tax collector and the taxpayer, and said that the solution lay in fixing the system instead of reforming the individual. In this connection the FBR had instituted reforms that simplified the process and ensured minimum interaction between the FBR and the taxpayers.

Following the FBR Chairman the Deputy Governor State Bank Mr. Jameel Ahmad gave an overview of Pakistan’s monetary policy and digitization of payment systems.

A high-powered CEO Panel built upon the broad strokes of the Keynote speakers with an animated discussion on “The New Economic Paradigm – Opportunities and Challenges.” Featuring in that bare-knuckled discourse were Ikram Sehgal (Chairman, K-Electric & Pathfinder Group Pakistan) speaking on “The Changing Face of the Great Game and Pakistan’s Pivot with Style and Speed”; Shazad Dada (CEO, Standard Chartered Bank) on “The Rising Challenge of Compliance: How is the Banking Model being Reshaped by the New AML/KYC Regimes”; Sagheer Mufti (COO, HBL) on “Transforming for a Digital Future”; Saquib H. Shirazi (CEO Atlas Honda Ltd) on “Evolution of Manufacturing Sector in Pakistan.”

Other topics under fire during the rest of the day included “Using Creativity in Business to Drive Success”; “Innovation Driven Financial Inclusion”; “People Strategies for Today and Tomorrow”; Role of Capital Markets in Economic Development of Pakistan – Challenges and Way Forward”; “Design Your Life – Key Insights from Design Thinking and Behavioral Science”; “Achieving Growth by Mergers and Acquisitions”; and “Reputation Management in the Digital Age.”

The day’s proceedings began with the president MAP Mr. Amir Jamil Abbasi welcoming the very large turnout of MAP members and gave a brief on MAP’s historical evolution and future plans, thanking MAP’s Lead Partner TerraBiz Conferences for putting together the 21st MAP Convention.

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