High tax rates to discourage industrialization: KCCI

KARACHI: Raising the tax rate is not the right solution for enhancing revenue as it will discourage expansion and industrialization but the actual solution lies in broadening the tax net, Junaid Makda, President, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said in a statement on Saturday.

The broadening of the tax base will subsequently share the burden and bring down the tax rates that would surely encourage the business & industrial community to go for expansion, Junaid Makda said, adding that it would in turn result in maximum production, excellent sales, enhanced revenue collection, massive number of employment opportunities, poverty alleviation and long term economic prosperity.

Makda, while appreciating the good intent of Prime Minister Imran Khan to improve the revenue collection, was, however, skeptical as the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), which is responsible to implement the policies for enhancing revenue from all over the country, has kept its revenue collection activities confined to Karachi only whereas the rest of Pakistan stands exempted from all these policies as perceived.

Junaid Makda said that FBR wants to achieve the revenue target by further squeezing the existing taxpayers of Karachi which was already contributing a mammoth sum of more than 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer whereas no such activity was visible in any other city or province of the country.

“We are not against the actions being taken to strictly deal with tax evaders from Karachi who must also be brought into the tax net along with tax evaders from other areas of the country but the loyal taxpayers should not be harassed and overburdened with exorbitant taxes,” he added while underscoring the need to strictly implement policies in every single nook and corner of the country.

He said that the cost of doing business was already too high due to import/ regulatory duties, upsurge in dollar rate and exorbitant taxes etc. while many industries were finding it hard to continue their activities and even those industries, which were somehow surviving, have no other option but to pass on the burden to consumers that has resulted in across-the-board inflation.

He stressed that the government will have to follow the supply side of economics where more revenue is generated through growth, wherein taxes are reduced along with consumer prices that would lead to quantum growth and appreciation in net revenue as well.

Increase in taxes reverses the growth and it would start declining, ultimately reduce the revenue already being achieved and above all high taxes are incentive for evasion, he added.

President KCCI requested the Prime Minister Imran Khan to issue directives for broadening the tax base and implementing the relevant policies all over the country in letter and spirit which would certainly yield positive results.

He reaffirmed that exorbitant tax rates along with cumbersome procedures and frequent issuance of anti-business and anti-taxpayers SROs/ notifications would result in closure of massive number of industrial units, significantly dent government’s revenue and render hundreds of thousands jobless.

“We understand that the country is in dire need of additional revenue but one should realize that revenue must come from new sources and even if it is taken from old sources, it needs to be rationalized and kept at the lowest level in order to attract thousands of individuals, who prefer to stay away from the tax net keeping in view the hardships being faced by loyal taxpayers”, Junaid Makda said, adding that heavy taxation has been imposed across the board and this additional burden has terribly affected the businesses and growth, which is already in a declining mode and may suffer more in the days to come.

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