Section 203A to result in corruption, harassment: FPCCI

Section 203A to result in corruption, harassment: FPCCI

KARACHI: Nasir Khan, acting president of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Wednesday said that the government has not incorporated practical, business-friendly and growth-promoting proposals of FPCCI in the budget; sent well before the Budget 2021-22.

He maintained that it is a gross negligence on government’s part to ignore the apex representative body of Pakistan’s business, industrial and trade community.

Nasir Khan also criticized the Section 203A of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 introduced through the budget 2021/2022, which empowers and expands the discretionary powers of FBR.

He added that it will only result in increase in corruption and harassment. He added that although Section 203A has been amended through introduction of slabs; but, still FPCCI is of the view that powers to arrest and prosecute will create fearful and discouraging environment for SMEs.

He said that Section 203A is equivalent to NAB’s law and provision should be added to make FBR accountable; if it cannot establish any corruption or tax evasion. This Section 203A also violates basic rights and the honourable Supreme Court should intervene to protect the businessmen of the country.

Acting President of FPCCI also pointed out that a blanket exemption for FED has been given to FATA and PATA; without surveying and quantifying the genuine needs and total demand of FATA and PATA population.

This will render industries in adjacent regions and all over the country uncompetitive in comparison to those industrial units which are exempt from FED in FATA and PATA. He added that there is a strong possibility that industrial units may exploit the FED exemption and utilize it to produce for regions other than FATA and PATA. He also added that there must be a strict mechanism to avoid misuse of the FED exemption and subsequent prosecution.

Nasir Khan also expressed his shock that FPCCI sent its recommendations on tax system reforms and simplification of tax rates to Prime Minister and he instructed FBR to have a consultative process with FPCCI; but, FBR did not start that process. He also mentioned that Shaukat Tarin promised that the budget will not be made without consulting FPCCI; but, unfortunately, that promise was also not kept.

Nasir Khan has suggested that corporate courts should be established in the country to counter and balance the weak policies of the successive governments and ensure protection to SMEs.

Nasir Khan mentioned that surprisingly FBR has made a banker the head of its Budget Anomalies Committees; who has no understanding of trade, SMEs and economic affairs.

Zakaria Usman, Convener Budget Advisory Council of FPCCI, said that the government should ensure consistency of policies to encourage investment in the country.

FPCCI demands that the Honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan must intervene and resolve the issues that are anti-business and anti-growth. FPCCI is ever-ready to resolve all outstanding issues through discussion and a mutually-beneficial dialogue.

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