2015-16: APBF gives proposals for ‘business-friendly’ budget
Stress on investment in energy solutions and enforcement of law and order topped the proposals presented by the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) for the federal budget 2015-16.
“Promoting foreign direct investment (FDI), increasing the share of direct taxes in revenue and lowering the slab of indirect taxes would help achieve key economic targets set for the next fiscal year,” said APBF President M Ibrahim Qureshi.
The APBF budget proposals covered recommendations and proposals to incentivise investors, broaden tax net through documentation of economy, simplify tax system and reorganise the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
The forum also suggested reduction on sales tax to single digit, cut in corporate tax and raising the tax base to improve tax-to-GDP ratio from the current 9%.
“All income earners without exception of any sector should be registered with proper national tax number (NTN),” said Qureshi, stressing that authorities should ensure all NTN holders file annual income tax/wealth returns and wealth reconciliation statements.
He further advised the culture of amnesty schemes to be completely eliminated since it discourages honest taxpayers.
“In order to tackle the energy shortage problem, maximum funds should be allocated for constructing of dams or water reservoirs, tapping of Thar Coal, completing of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and solving LNG related issues,” he added. “At least 15% of the total budget should be allocated for Hydro power projects.”
Qureshi was of the opinion that costly thermal power had been jacking up the cost of production and the import bill. The country is in dire need of an urgent shift in its energy-mix. Use of biogas should be promoted throughout the rural sector both for power generation and cooking besides producing bio fertiliser.
The APBF also believed that the sales tax should be non-adjustable and non-refundable and be collected at a single stage at import or manufacturing.
In value-added chain industry, GST should be collected at 0.5% on each stage of value-addition to complete the chain. “We have also demanded to cut the corporate tax rate annually to bring it down to 25% over the next three or four years from the current rate of 33% while individual income tax exemption should be raised,” Qureshi further informed.