ICCI says no to SRO, yes to equitable taxation

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ICCI president says before implementing taxation at retail level, government should take strong policy measures to eliminate smuggling and under-invoicing

Acting Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) President Shakeel Munir has said that the government should immediately withdraw SRO-608 to save the business community from further problems and pursue a policy of equitable taxation system to broaden tax net in order to improve tax revenue.

Munir said that all major chambers of the country had expressed strong opposition to the levy of tax at retail level and called upon the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to withdraw SRO 608(I)/2014 as in the presence of huge smuggling and under-invoicing, it would not be a possible for the government to achieve desired results from the SRO.

The ICCI president said that at a time when the business community was facing several challenges including gas and electricity shortages and was looking for relief package from the government, FBR was adopting “arm-twisting tactics by issuing anti-business SROs”. He said the new taxation measures like SRO-608 were bound to create more difficulties to the efforts aimed at reviving business and economic activities.

Munir said it was unfortunate that instead of withdrawing concessions and exemptions and bringing all untaxed sectors into the tax net, government was taking coercive steps to squeeze the existing taxpayers. He said before implementing taxation at retail level, government should take strong policy measures to eliminate smuggling and under-invoicing.

The ICCI president said that the business community was fully cognizant of the need of improving tax-to-GDP ratio, but such objectives could not be achieved by taking unilateral measures, rather government could achieve positive results through facilitating traders and industrialists. He was of the view that only a fair taxation system backed up by long-term stability could salvage the country out of current challenges and put it on sustainable economic growth.