KARACHI: Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Wednesday advised Karachi Chamber’s leadership to constitute a committee for resolution of tax and customs issues/anomalies relating to Federal annual budget FY 14, with the Government.
“You come with a committee and sit with Federal Board of Revenue authorities for settlement of the budget anomalies, you have identified,” the Minister addressed the members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) here at an interactive meeting with them.
He assured that the anomalies requiring structural changes would be done away with immediately. Whereas, other anomalies would be worked out within shortest possible time.
The Government holds private sector as the major player in the national economy and development and wanted to provide a level field to it, he said.
The Minister responded to the reservations on the last budget shown by KCCI leadership including its President Aamir Abdullah Zaki, Siraj Kassem Teli and Chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum Muhammad Jawed Bilwani and their complaints that the concerned government functionaries normally take long time for the settlement of the budget anomalies and then next annual budget is announced.
He also assured to M. Jawed Bilwani that the issue of levying sales tax on value-adding export sectors and then refunding the same to the exporters would also be revisited to make it practical and supportive for increasing the exports of the country.
He underlined the need for due exploration of large natural resources of the country including big deposits gas for making the country an economic power and a developed state.
The Federal Finance Minister assured the business community that their recommendations/suggestions would well taken and discussed in detail with their representatives before finalizing the next annual federal budget.
“Last year, we had a little time to announce the budget,” he explained.
Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar called for value-addition and diversification of our products especially textile products for capturing more share and find new regional and international markets.
He sought cooperation from KCCI and other trade bodies to bringing more tax-payers into tax net as without increasing tax-GDP ratio , the country cannot prosper.
“Of total more than 180 million population, we have only 8.5 million tax-payers,” he regretted.
To a question on levying tax on agriculture, the Federal Finance Minister replied that it is now provincial subject. However, when he was the Finance Minister during last PML-N government, he had introduced the agricultural tax in all the four provinces.
He said the Government has planned to publish a directory of the businessmen of the country who pay due taxes. This would help identify /isolate a big population of non-taxpayers in the country.
When the KCCI leadership argued that the directory would made public the details of the businesses and the financial status of the business community members , it would create security risk for them especially in the persisting environment of Karachi.
“Extortionists would find very easy to target the business people by assessing their financial position with the help of this directory,” Siraj Kassem Teli remarked.
The Minister showing his soft corner said, ” Ok, this would be done after due consultation with you people.”
“However, the Government sees it as a practical step to identify non-taxpayers. This directory would be in the national interest,” he asserted adding that only name of business person, and of the company/business and NTN number would be published through this directory which would create no problem for the business community.
He also announced that the Government would also made public a directory about the Parliamentarians of the country on 15th of February 2014. This would show their wealth, income and the taxes paid by them.
“The Government would never compromise and would publish this directory on fixed date,” he remarked.