LAHORE: All the city trade associations Tuesday, rejected SRO 608(I)/2014 unanimously and called for its immediately withdrawal. They urged the government to facilitate the business community to put the economy back on fast track of growth. The demand was raised at a meeting held here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry and presided over by the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari while Vice President Kashif Anwar, former Senior Vice
President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Executive Committee Members Mian Zahid Javed, Muhammad Haroon Arora, Haji Muhammad Akram and president Anjuman-e-Tajran Ashraf Bhatti were prominent amongst the participants.
The LCCI president assured the trading community of his full support for the early withdrawal of the SRO that could create troubles for them in the long run. He said that he had already requested the government to put in place the mechanism of public-private dialogue so that the policies could be made result oriented.
He said that in the presence of huge smuggling and massive under invoicing it would not be possible for the government to get desired economic results. Engineer Sohail Lashari said that at a time when the economy was passing through very critical times of its recent history because of
the shortage of gas and electricity, new taxation measures like SRO 608(I) 2014 are bound to create a wrong impression about the government.
The LCCI President said that the government would have to weed out the menace of smuggling and under-invoicing before implementing any tax avoidance measures. The LCCI President said that it was very unfortunate that instead of widening tax base and bringing the untaxed sectors into the tax net, steps are being taken to squeeze the existing tax payers. The LCCI President said that the FBR which was established with an objective to facilitate the trade and industry but it has now been turned into a money making machine and the people sitting at the helm are not only unaware of the ground realities but are least concerned about the problems and the day-to-day challenges being faced by the businessmen.
The LCCI President said that at a time when both the trade and industry were looking for a relief package to run their businesses, they are being pushed to the wall by issuing SROs like SRO 608(I)/2014. He said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands well that a quantum jump in Tax-to-GDP ratio is in dire need but it also believes that this objective could only be achieved through facilitation of existing businesses instead of playing arm-twisting with them.
Engineer Sohail Lashari said that the FBR and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry were not on the same page on the issue as the FBR wants documentation of the economy through this controversial SRO while the LCCI believes that all the untaxed sectors should be taxed
and enforcement of Professional tax needs to be strengthened. The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry is firm on its stand and calls for early withdrawal of the SRO 608(I)/2014.
The LCCI President said that the FBR should avoid implementing the SRO without the consultation of the business community for being the main stakeholders and if the FBR requires to amend existing policies, it should make the changes through public private dialogue (PPD).
The LCCI feels that the Federal Board of Revenue is shifting its burden of monitoring and tracking of the tax system on business community which is unjust and unethical.
“If the FBR was interested in broadening of tax net, it must bring all the sectors into the tax net instead of creating troubles for the registered persons who were already doing businesses in the presence of multiple internal and external challenges.”
The LCCI President said that it is very difficult to understand that why the people sitting at helm of affairs at the Federal Board of Revenue do not consult the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the country before issuing SROs or formulating business related policies.
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