FPCCI Budgetary Proposals Taxation Reforms Should be Based on Simplification & Broadening

Karachi (PR): Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has said that the much needed taxation reforms must be introduced in the federal budget 2023 – 24 based on international best-practices; principles of simplification of the taxation system and broadening of the tax-base. We need a business-friendly and .pro-growth budget to play the catalytic role in putting the economy on the right track, he added.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh emphasized that taxation system in Pakistan contributes to the national exchequer less than 10 percent of the GDP; indicating that it is not balanced, broad-based and simplified. The taxation system's heavy reliance on indirect taxation and surcharges is damaging the economy; and, taxes are insufficient for debt servicing, defence, social welfare and public-sector development programs, he .added

FPCCI Chief added that, contrariwise, taxpayers lack knowledge of their obligations; and, major taxation policy changes are not supported by the required changes in the administrative framework. FBR lacks adequate organizational structure; business processes; business-friendly facilities; institutional budget and sufficient pool of human resources. In addition to that, FBR & its staff are not equipped with the current .technological developments and the resultant digitalization

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh enlisted basic principles to provide foundation to the government for its taxation policies: (i) taxation policies should support businesses to diversify into untapped international markets through creating enabling environment for export-oriented businesses; be competitive in regional, sub-regional & international markets; (ii) taxation system should be facilitative enough to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) for sustained economic & business growth; (ii) maintaining macroeconomic stability is a prerequisite for inclusive and sustained development; and, taxation system should add ease in economic activities; rather than operating as a notice-manufacturing factory; (iii) generating desired revenues from the existing taxation system requires the government to review obsolete laws, regulations and taxation rates; and, develop an efficient tax administration with well-trained; well-equipped; professional and motivated human resources; (iv) there should be harmony and convergence in the objectives of taxation, industrial, exports and fiscal objectives – otherwise, none of these policies will .work

Mr. Zakaria Usman, Convener of FPCCI’s Budget Advisory Council, apprised that although volume of revenue collection has increased from PKR. 3112 billion in FY16 to Rs.6148 billion in FY21– which shows nearly twofold growth of the revenue collection during six years – however, during the same period, tax-to-GDP ratio continued to remain stagnant in the vicinity of 10 percent of GDP. No country .can post a substantive economic growth at this kind of abysmally low tax-to-GDP ratio, he added

Brig Iftikhar Opel, SI (M), Retd.

Secretary General