KARACHI: President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra has said that even the World Bank, while highly criticizing Pakistan’s poor and futile taxation system which acts as one of the hurdle in way of enhanced production, also expressed deep concerns over limited tax base of the country as under the existing taxation system, companies and individuals within the tax net are compelled to bear the entire burden of taxes.
President KCCI said that the Karachi Chamber has been highlighting this serious issue from time to time and demanding to bring tax evaders into the net but the policymakers have never bothered to pay any attention and now the World Bank has also recognized this grave issue and expressed deep concerns over it.
He said that the World Bank’s report on Pakistan has rightly pointed out that number of tax exemptions and concessions have seriously affected the overall tax collection framework whereas the existing unjust taxation system was dampening production.
Iftikhar Vohra also advocated World Bank’s suggestion that Pakistan must raise the number of taxpayers, get rid of administrative decisions pertaining exemptions and take steps to improve the overall taxation system.
He said that under the existing taxation system, businessmen and industrialists of the country, who are the major source for employment generation, were being punished whereas the tax evaders continue to enjoy all perks and privileges without contributing a single rupee to the national exchequer.
He said that although FBR has been claiming of issuing notices to tax dodgers but the Board has never publicized details of any action taken against such dodgers who were responsible for giving severe losses to the national exchequer.
President KCCI recalled that although FBR claimed to have identified more than 700,000 tax evaders some five years ago and recently claimed to have issued 240,000 notices to evaders but unfortunately, no action has been taken against those tax evaders who have been living luxurious lives but not contributing anything to the national exchequer. He said that all these tax evaders, according to FBR, owned more than one house, have luxurious cars, they and their kids frequently travel abroad, study in foreign universities, use credit cards and operate bank accounts but they do not even have NTN numbers.
Iftikhar Vohra said that in such circumstances, the loyal taxpayers are constantly being overburdened and have to suffer badly due to complex tax procedures whereas the tax evaders, who are probably highly influential, continue to enjoy the benefits of staying outside the tax net which is highly unfair.
He further opined that due to complex tax procedures and harassment being suffered by taxpayers, people simply don’t want to come into the tax net and in such a situation, FBR, after failing to act against tax evaders, finds no other option but to further squeeze the existing taxpayers in order to attain the revenue generation targets.