2015-16: APBF gives pro­pos­als for ‘busi­ness-friendly’ bud­get

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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.

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