Refund system be handed over to SBP

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) seems to be more interested in collecting refunds than taxes which is damaging the fragile economy, said Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance said Dr Murtaza Mughal Saturday.
The refund system should be automated and its responsibility should rest with the central bank to reduce complaints and corruption and improve the economic situation, said the senior official of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).
Mughal said that the government is trying hard to inject new blood in the economy and restore the confidence of the business community but the tax mechanism is working against it. Unrealistic tax targets have compelled the FBR to strangulate the business activities through highhandedness to show performance, he added.
Dr Murtaza Mughal, who is also President of the Pakistan Economy Watch, said that FBR continues to issue SROs which violate the government’s intention to spur growth. He said that recently SRO 889 has been issued for surveillance of factories which is being opposed by the industrialists as it will trigger harassment, corruption and litigation.
Similarly, through two SROs, banks have been directed to report anyone withdrawing one million rupees or more and depositing ten million rupees or more while real estate agents have been directed to report all the sales and purchases to FBR.
These SROs will damage the realty sector, discourage investment and may reverse the gains made through the construction package, amnesty scheme and other incentives offered by the government to spur growth.
He said that all over the world the real estate market is kept insulated from fear, raids, unnecessary audits but here its different which is one of the reasons Pakistanis ignore the local market and invest in the realty sector of other countries.
Meanwhile, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has said that promoting ease of doing business should be the top priority of the government and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should avoid creating problems for construction and automobile sectors.
In a statement issued here the other day, President ICCI Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said that promoting ease of doing business should be the top priority of the government so that the economy could come out of the difficulties created by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, instead of taking facilitative measures for businesses, the FBR is issuing regulatory orders like SRO-924 and SRO-931/2020 that would create additional problems for businesses of construction and automobile sectors. He stressed that FBR should take stakeholders fully on board before issuing any new SRO that would save the economy from unnecessary problems.
Yasir said that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused drastic decline in the business activities across the country and it is high time that the government should focus on formulating more conducive policies, besides taking supportive measures for the private sector, to enable businesses to revive and boost business activities in the country.
He emphasised that the State Bank of Pakistan should work with commercial banks to provide loans at low interest rates to the private sector for revival and expansion of business ventures.
He was addressing a dinner reception hosted by Sheikh Abdul Waheed, Chairman Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA), and Faad Waheed, Executive Member ICCI, in honour of new office-bearers of ICCI.
Speaking at the occasion, Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan, Chairman, Punjab Board of Investment and Trade highlighted the potential areas of investment in the Punjab and said that the business community should capitalize on them for future business promotion and growth.
He stressed the need for close cooperation and regular interaction between policy-makers and business leaders to make new policies that should put the economy on the path of sustainable growth. – TLTP

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