There is ambivalence in govt’s policy: Mian Zahid

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan and President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, Mian Zahid Hussain has said on one hand government has provided relaxations to the business community while on the other it is creating problems for them.

The finance minister has hinted to reverse power of arrest from the assistant commissioners of FBR and now the decision will rest with a three-member committee headed by the finance minister which will be a hanging sword which is not acceptable as disagreement over amount of tax is a routine affair, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the business community should be allowed to play their role in national development through production and exports with peace of mind.

He said that importers are now bound to keep invoice with the imported cargo after recent amendment in section 156 of the Customs Act otherwise they will face fines and other actions which is not applicable.

He said that unregistered businessmen should be lured to the tax net through incentives and electronic data and that point of sale system is a good move while electricity and gas bills and property transactions can be used to expand the tax net.

He said that investment in the outgoing year slipped a little as compared to the corresponding year but now the situation must be increased. Increasing imports are proving improved economic activity but it is also widening the trade gap which can be controlled through exports for which regionally competitive energy rates are of paramount importance.

He said that oil price is increasing in the international market but the trend can be reversed if sanctions over Iran were lifted which is not impossible.

He said that indirect tax which stokes poverty has been increased by two percent to 68 percent in the budget while the benefit to rich and poor was focused in the budget. A hike in petroleum price to boost levy by Rs610 billion will trigger inflation therefore this decision should be deferred for some months, he said, adding that the economic survey was silent about poverty and unemployment. Authorities have claimed that two million people lost jobs during the pandemic and now 1.8 million have found jobs leaving only two hundred thousand jobless which is difficult to believe as independent experts have a very different opinion.

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