Granting more powers to taxation officers will drag country to old regime: LCCI

LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday took a strong exception to Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation Inland Revenue for seeking discretionary powers under Sections 111 and 122 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001and termed it an attempt to drag the country back to old regime of taxation.

In a statement issued here, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that there was no need to grant any more powers to the taxation officers since the country was meeting all the revenue targets despite facing multiple internal and external challenges.“The discretionary powers to FBR functionaries would only open up the floodgates of corruption instead of giving any raise to the government revenues or increasing the number of tax payers.”

He said that unnecessary interference of tax officials in business would also increase paper work for the businessmen, depriving them of peace of mind needed to focus on expansion of business. The LCCI President said that the government should ensure a free hand to the business community in the larger national interests because undue interference of government functionaries in businesses would not only promote corruption but would also hinder the smooth working of trade and industry.

Engineer Sohail Lashari said that it seemed that the some elements in the Federal Board of Revenue want to tarnish the image of the present government who was striving to facilitate the private sector. He said that the Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during his recent visit to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry had promised a free hand to the business community but the things are not moving in desired direction and there was a need to reassure the things.

“Promotion of economic activities is directly linked to increased productions and how one can expect of any boost to economy in such a circumstances.” The LCCI President said that the issues like shortage of skilled labour, high cost of doing business and unavailability of cheaper money had taken the economy hostage and if the FBR officials are allowed to act at will the new investment would become a dream.

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