Mr. Atif Ikram Sheikh, President FPCCI, has said that the business community supports the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) restructuring plan as visualized by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Federal Caretaker Minister for Finance & Revenue. The underlining principle of separation of tax policy and collection functions will help resolve contradictions, conflict of interest and maladministration, and that’s why FPCCI supports the restructuring proposals, he added.
It is pertinent to note that Dr. Shamshad Akhter paid a detailed, high-profile visit to the apex body’s head office in Karachi and briefed prominent trade and industry leaders of Karachi on the measures the caretaker government has taken to stabilize the economy, control exchange rate volatility and restructure FBR.
Mr. Atif Ikram Sheikh stated that the bifurcation of inland-revenue and customs will streamline the operations of FBR and will not only align it with international best practices but also remove the concerns of international financial institutions like IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. This is specifically important in Pakistan’s peculiar case as the country will continue to depend on external financing for the foreseeable future.
Mr. Atif Ikram Sheikh apprised that it was a longstanding demand of the entire business, industry and trade community of Pakistan to implement complete digitalization and transparency of FBR operations to deal with harassment of the business community at the hands of tax officers and unnecessary issuance of tax notices.
President FPCCI also highlighted the issues of the edible oil industry; i.e. section 8-B of the sales tax act should be abolished, and 10 per cent differential disfavoring and discouraging the industrialists in comparison to commercial importers should be eliminated. Additionally, to facilitate industries, higher tariffs should be charged to commercial importers than industries.
Mr Saquib Fayyaz Magoon, SVP FPCCI, maintained that the input of the apex body must be incorporated in budget-making and taxation policies as FPCCI is undertaking a massive exercise to formulate its budget proposals for the federal budget 2024 – 25 through aggregating feedback from all chambers, associations and trade bodies from across Pakistan.
SVP FPCCI stressed that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the real engine of growth as they create employment and generate revenues for the country; therefore, they should be facilitated in its economic, industrial, trade, investment and taxation policies.
Dr Shamshad Akhter agreed with FPCCI’s demand that its representatives be included in all important and relevant committees of the finance and revenue ministries, as the business community is a real stakeholder in the economy. She also appreciated the active participation of the business community in the government’s consultative process with the private sector from the platform of FPCCI.