ICCI for taxing agriculture and ending exemptions in new budget

  • June 09, 2013
Upcoming federal budget should bring agriculture and all other exempted sectors into the tax net to improve tax revenue and establish a fair taxation system by removing anomalies. This was demanded by Mr. Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry while chairing a session on budget proposals organized by Mohammad Ali Jinnah University at the occasion of International Conference on Emerging Trends in Management. 
He said contribution of industry in GDP was around percent 26 percent, but it was contributing 66 percent in tax revenue while share of agriculture in GDP was around 20 percent, but it was paying less than 1 percent in tax revenue. It shows marked discrepancies in Pakistan’s tax system due to which industry carries the brunt of the tax burden, which is unfair.  
Mr. Bakhtawari said historical facts show that despite unfavorable business conditions, tax revenue has been improving in Pakistan as it has gone up from Rs.400 billion in 2002 to more than Rs. 1900 billion in 2012. Therefore, the perception of low tax-to-GDP ratio was half true. However, he said that there was great scope to improve tax revenue by removing anomalies and developing an equitable taxation system which should tax every taxable income. 
About load-shedding, he said that the current energy crisis was the outcome of mismanagement as Pakistan has an installed capacity, which is more than the total energy demand of the country. Therefore, new government should focus on addressing mismanagement in power sector and prefer to exploit cheap sources of energy including hydro and coal to bring down the cost of doing business and provide relief to the common man. 
ICCI President appreciated the effort of Mohammad Ali Jinnah University’s students for preparing good budget proposals. He hoped that such exercises would continue to further refine their budget making skills and give them a better understanding of the economy. He said other universities should also engage their students in such exercises to give them practical experience of theoretical knowledge. 
At this occasion, Dr. Safdar A. Butt, Professor & Director of Mohammad Ali Jinnah University thanked ICCI President for chairing the session on Budget Proposals and providing the students necessary tips how to further improve their budget making skills. He said MAJU would maintain a good working relationship with ICCI and hoped that collaboration between ICCI and MAJU would bridge the gap and strengthen academia-industry linkages for achieving beneficial results for industry and economy