ICCI calls for urgent withdrawal of SRO 351(I)/2014 to save businesses from further problems

Islamabad: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has called upon the government to urgently withdraw SRO.351(I)/2014 as it will badly affect business activities, dampen the mood of the business community and multiply problems for already struggling economy.

Shaban Khalid, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that FBR through SRO.351 has assigned powers to the officers of Director General (Intelligence & Investigation) parallel to the functions of Chief Commissioners and Commissioners Inland Revenue which will create undue harassment in the business community and could give rise to more corruption.

He said before taking such arbitrary and anti-business measures, government should take business community on board and explore options for improving tax base as decisions taken with consensus lead to achieving better results while unilateral decisions entail harmful consequences for the economy.

He demanded of the government to share with the nation how many new taxpayers have been added to the tax net and how much tax revenue has been collected from them.

He said instead of expanding tax base, government has adopted an easy approach to further burden the existing taxpayers.

Shaban Khalid said that the measures like SRO.351 will discourage the potential taxpayers to come into formal sector, further squeeze tax base and push existing taxpayers towards informal sector leading to overall negative impact on the tax revenue and the overall economy.

He stressed upon the government to put its house in order , remove all tax exemptions and start targeting taxable income of all sectors including trade, industry, services, agriculture and real estate etc.

He further said that all individuals including professionals providing various services and are clearly wealthy enough should be brought into the tax net.

He said according to a NADRA survey, there are 2.25 million wealthy people who do not appear in the tax system at all and stressed that FBR should bring them into tax net.

FBR has the various tools, data and information from NADRA, utility companies etc. to identify all the potential taxpayers and it should make sincere efforts to improve tax base of the country instead of targeting existing taxpayers.

He said with the installation of a business friendly government, public and private sectors have started making best efforts to lure more investment in Pakistan and at such occasion, issuing SRO.351 would thwart all such efforts of business community.

Therefore, it is the need of the hour that government should urgently withdraw said SRO to save the businesses and economy from further problems.

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