KARACHI: Senior Vice President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Muffasar A Malik, along with Chairman of All Pakistan Security Agencies Association (APSAA), Col (Retd) Touqeerul Islam, have demanded of government to withdraw unjustified 10 percent General Sales Tax (GST) on security agencies in the forthcoming budget for fiscal year 2014-15.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Malik pointed out that 10 percent GST on security agencies was imposed in last year’s budget, which was widely criticized by the business community.
“Although Chief Minister Sindh and Chairman Sindh Revenue Board assured to resolve this issue but no announcement has been made so far. “We expect that the government of Sindh will either completely waive off this exorbitant tax or reduce to two percent in order to give some relief to the perturbed business community”, he added.
APSAA representatives Brig (Retd) Rashid Ali Malik, Maj (Retd) Munir Ahmed and Col (R) Ihteshamuddin were also present on the occasion.
SVP KCCI further stated that it was the prime responsibility of the government to ensure security to the lives and property of citizens but the government had failed to do so, leaving no other option for the business community but to hire private security guards, resulting in additional expenses on security whereas the imposition of GST on security agencies had further exacerbated the situation.
Chairman APSAA Col (R) Touqeerul Islam termed GST as extortion and said that the authorities concerned claimed that as GST.
“Failure to collect this tax from clients leaves no other option for security companies but to pay it from their own resources, otherwise they will have to face fines, imprisonment and even cancellation of their licenses, resulting in suspension of business,” he said.
Chairman APSAA urged the government to either withdraw the GST or impose it on service charges of companies and not on their expenses whereas it should directly be taken from the clients.
He said that security companies were already paying huge amount of income tax along with annual license renewal fee and various other taxes, contributing a major chunk to the national exchequer and playing key role in effectively dealing with the unemployment.
He informed that currently APSAA member companies and non-member companies were operating in all five provinces of Pakistan and most of the malpractices by security agencies were being carried out by non-member companies, of which many companies are illegal.
“It is heartening to note that Home Secretary Sindh, Dr Niaz Abbasi, has initiated crackdown against these illegal companies whereas a similar crackdown is likely to start in the province of Punjab as well whereas APSAA has also established a committee to effectively deal with these illegal businesses”, he added.
He informed that 200,000 guards, who were the force multipliers supplementing police officers deployed at various banks and consulates, were discharging their duties across Pakistan, of which around 55,000 to 60,000 guards were offering their services in Sindh province. All guards were verified by NADRA and Police and were given special training at APSAA training centers in Karachi and Lahore.
Chairman APSAA, while expressing deep concerns over the crisis being faced by security service providers, said that the government must withdraw this tax in the next budget and if they failed to do so, the security service providers would have no other option but to react.