Lahore, June 21, 2016 (PPI-OT): President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Muhammad Arshad has urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Punjab government to announce withdrawal of discretionary powers of tax and customs officials, withholding tax on banking transactions, attachment of business bank accounts and Punjab Infrastructure Development Cess (PIDC) to boost the confidence of the businessmen.
In a statement issued here, the LCCI president said that may be policy makers consider these issues trivial but impacts would be higher than the hopes once FBR and Punjab government make announcement of withdrawal.
“Good effects would easily be judged through stock market once these issues are resolved”, the LCCI President said.
He said that business community is doing business in hostile condition. He said that one hand discretionary powers of tax and customs officials, withholding tax on banking transactions and attachment of business bank accounts are agonizing them while at the other issues like Punjab Infrastructure Development Cess (PIDC) are adding to their miseries.
He said that business community was hoping some major announcements in this regard in the Federal and Provincial Budget 2016-17 but all expectations ended with discouragement.
The LCCI President said that boom of trade and economic activities could generate more revenue than the FBR and Punjab government are expecting from withholding tax on banking transactions and Punjab Infrastructure Development Cess.
He said that discretionary powers of tax and customs officials should be withdrawn as there is no need to grant undue powers to taxations officers. He said that discretionary powers have only opened up the floodgates for misdoings instead of raising government revenues or increasing the number of taxpayers. He said that unnecessary interference of tax officials in the businesses is also increasing depriving them of peace of mind needed to focus on expansion of businesses.
Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that FBR should stop attaching business accounts in the larger interest of the economy. He said that attachment of business accounts is pushing the taxpayers to the wall. He said that attachment of the bank accounts should be the last option but the RTOs/LTUs are wasting no time in taking punitive action to meet the revenue targets. He said that the FBR should focus on controlling under-invoicing and curbing the menace of smuggling besides expanding tax net but it is playing arm-twisting by instituting cases for recovery of outstanding dues and attaching bank accounts.
He called for immediate withdrawal of withholding tax on banking transactions saying that this sort of taxation is hitting the trade and industry hard. He said that policy corridors have not shown any laxity on this issue which is hampering the trade and economic activities. He said that imposition of withholding tax on banking transactions have forced business community to conduct its monetary transactions in cash.
The LCCI President also urged the Punjab government to withdraw Punjab Infrastructure Development Cess immediately as this is double taxation and bound spoil the business activities in Punjab. He said that businessmen of the province would left with no other option but to get their consignments cleared from other provinces and dispatch to the required destinations directly which would ultimately occur huge loss to the economy of Punjab.
He said that federal and provincial government should give a free hand to the business community in the larger national interests because issues like misuse of discretionary powers of FBR officials, withholding tax on banking transactions, attachment of business accounts and PIDC etc are hindering the smooth working of the trade and industry.
“Since the promotion of economic activities is directly linked to increased productions, how can one expect any boost to economy in such circumstances,” he said.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan