The top management of United Business Group (UBG) on Tuesday strongly claimed to the federal government to bring 3.5 million non tax filers identified by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) into the tax net. This was stated by central chairman UBG and veteran trade leader Iftikhar Ali Malik, who is also Senior Vice President (SVP) SAARC Chamber, while talking to a delegation of traders here Tuesday.
Malik said Pakistan needed $15-16 billion worth of support to avoid International Monetary Fund loan but the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank and bilateral credit from an association of donors would increase more than half – $9 billion. “We will be left with a loss of around $7-8 billion to bridge either through grants and assistance from friendly countries or from the IMF,” he said.
He also said complete tax reform is one such issue on which there is agreement among all the political parties. It is, thus, authoritative that in the first 100-days, this issue is given the top priority. The Parliament must debate the several options available for evocative and productive tax reforms and then go for necessary changes and their implementation.
He said Pakistan will have to increase collection at all levels of governments to bridge unfair fiscal shortfall that reached the level of 6.8% of GDP (Rs 2.3 trillion) for the fiscal year 2017-18. The new federal and provincial governments must immediately prepare finance bills to tax the rich and mighty through alternate minimum tax of 2.5% of net worth and property tax according to the size of the house/office.
The unwieldy Tax returns system should be simplified. Help desk of Punjab Revenue Authority should be established, it suggested. Separate accounts for sales and income tax returns should also be set up. He further proposed that the federal and provincial tax systems should be consistent, double taxation should be discouraged, and direct taxes should be encouraged instead of indirect tax system,” he added.
Malik said that skill development should be focused, while developing any education policy, as the government is increasing number of universities in the country instead of quality of education and deserting importance of technical education in the syllabus. There is a dire need of skilled manpower in the country, as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects bring many job opportunities in the country, he added.