Non-filers will prefer cash transactions to avoid tax net.

Chairman of FPCCI Advisory Board and National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Monday that people are finding it harder and harder to live with this budget. He said every necessity of life has become very expensive and out of most people’s reach.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that while non-filers and tax defaulters find novel ways to avoid taxes, existing taxpayers will be forced to bear the burden of the government’s new tax measures to boost collection.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said the current budget’s volume is 18500 billion rupees. Despite the taxes of 12900 billion rupees, an increase of 40%, the budget has a deficit of 8500 billion rupees. He said the government must borrow 5700 billion rupees to bridge the gap. The current budget has set aside ten thousand billion rupees for debt servicing. In contrast, next year, 11 thousand billion rupees will be required. Another five thousand billion rupees must increase taxes, but the budget deficit will remain unchanged.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that changes and experiments have been made in every sector of business activities, including exports, in the current budget. As a result of these experiments, it is widely feared that a decrease in exports of four to five billion dollars will damage the economy. The business leader said the export sector should have been left alone to function peacefully. The tax burden on the salaried has been increased. Government spending, salaries, and pensions of top officials have increased, but ordinary people have been left behind.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the government has claimed to work on pension reforms and the imposition of tax on traders. Still, this work will continue until the next budget, while efforts will be made to save costs by closing some departments. He noted that if all the economic activities were digitised, the term non-filer would be automatically abolished, the tax base would be widened, and the government would get the tax comfortably.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that due to the measures proposed in the budget, the traders will not come into the tax net at any cost. Still, they will be attracted to the cash economy. He said that public anxiety is growing in masses and businesses. Still, the government is not ready to follow the suggestions of FPCCI, the largest organisation in the business community, which is a mistake.

He said FPCCI is still prepared to support the government in bringing the country out of economic recession, increasing exports, broadening the tax net, and providing people with convenience.

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