Dipping trade & industry


Prime Minister Imran Khan time and again has been promising and assuring the business community to give them maximum facilities for the growth of industries and reduce the cost of doing business, but in reality things have not improved. The major reason is higher debts accumulated over the years and the interest to be paid on these huge loans. The progress of the country is not measured on the basis of high rise buildings, motorways and palatial houses but its measure lies in the condition of people. Unfortunately whenever new government is formed they start accusing, blaming previous governments and never miss an opportunity to declare them the worst rulers in the history. All governments accuse each other of ruining the economy of the country by drawing comparisons but do little soul searching of one’s own, we don’t look at one’s own faults and short comings rather than catching others for wrong doings.
FPCCI is the apex body of trade and industry which is elected through transparent elections each year on all Pakistan basis, but somehow or the other no government has ever given them the importance they deserved. Although delegations from FPCCI do meet and interact at highest level but such meetings failed to produce desired results and ended in photo session. People are crying so is the businessman, once businessman is affected it ends up in closing down the industries and shading the manpower and looking for better alternatives. Prime Minister in recent meeting with newly elected members of Commerce and Industries from across the Pakistan promised to facilitate business community and directed FBR to do away with unnecessary taxes, inspection of small shopkeepers and making licensing process easy, but mostly orders are not implemented.
What is the root cause that remains unattended? When a patient goes to doctor after carrying out examination some tests are prescribed and after the report is received proper medicine is suggested so that patient is relieved of sickness. Likewise if PM wants to keep happy the business community, the root cause has to be tackled. There are three major causes of degradation and industries at the verge of collapsing. First one is the inflation, second high rate of interest and lastly cost of utilities that continue face upward revision due to IMF dictation. The story does not end here if you add banks interest to KIBOR it goes to 17 to 18 percent due to varying interest rate of bank, if you add other taxes it ends up to over 25 percent who can work under such high rate of doing business. Business community prefers to close down the industry creating more unemployment where as government promised to provide 10 million jobs. The fact of the matter is at present about 1-5 million people have been rendered jobless. Prime Minister said that he has reduced the PM House expenditure by 40 percent and lives in his own House, with salary of Rs 196,979 after deduction of taxes is difficult to live good thing to do that but what about those who are being paid Rs 15000 per month. Secondly what is the justification of paying salaries to various categories of officers more than one million that does not include other facilities. This is a big tamasha going on for years. People were very hopeful that Imran Khan will set the things right but they stand disappointed on the poor governance and performance and has also failed to bring any change in the status quo.
The poor performance and governance has been certified by Dr Ishrat Hussain Advisor to PM on Institutional Reforms who is known being a very straight forward person speaks truth based on ground realities and expresses his view point without any reservation. In nut shell he summed up the performance by saying that all institutions are on decline, nothing happens in Police station without reference money, conditions of schools and hospital is poor, FBR chairman says exiting taxation system is not workable and added that tax system is heading towards failure instead of brining success, overburdening of manufacturing sector resulting resulting in to de industrialization. After this bold statement it is not rocket science to conclude that there is total collapse of institutions, when all the institutions collapse that means state has collapsed. There is just one institution left in the country which so far is intact but the enemies of Pakistan internal and external and section of paid media spare no time to criticise them and forget their role in ridding Pakistan from terrorism
Shabbar Zaidi Chairman FBR who came with fanfare to streamline taxes and revamp taxation in Pakistan has raised his hands and accepted his failure when he said that the existing taxation system as “extortionist” and unworkable and added that FBR was collecting 90 percent taxes in the shape of deduction at source and in shape of withholding tax and only 5 to 10 percent being earned through voluntary tax collection. Chairman accepted his failure the failure of FBR to collect taxes and said it is not possible to check 8000 containers daily. Who says you check such large number of containers in one day spread the checking over 15 days with no demurrage charges to traders. Government has to have trust in his team, we have competent honest officers in FBR but if Chairman continues to shift hem at whims and try some different model will not succeed. Let us admit that government has failed to evolve proper system of taxation for the last 70 years and due to wrong policies have destroyed the basic structure of FBR and failed to evolve a system to collect taxes. There is massive evasion of taxes in Pakistan other than business community that is suffering the most.If government wants to increase its tax base must listen to business community. We have a dynamic president FPCCI who is practical person should immediately be appointed as coordinator on business matters by Prime Minister and stop chasing shadows in the dark.