A broad tax base is required to alleviate public suffering

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A broad tax base is required to alleviate public suffering

KARACHI, JUN 12: /DNA/ – Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Wednesday that it is difficult to provide any relief to the masses and business community as taxes worth 4000 billion rupees are not being collected.

He said the new budget is expected to set a revenue target of 12900 billion rupees, 3500 billion rupees more than the current target. The sales tax rate is also likely to increase.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that if the difference between filers and non-filers is not removed in the new budget, the economy will not be fully digitized, and the tax base will not increase by five percent; then, the budget measures will affect the public, the salaried class, and the tax-paying business community.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the current tax system relies on indirect taxes and targets the commoner while rewarding tax evaders.

In the presence of skewed taxation, the country’s development is impossible, he added.

The business leader said that a series of measures have been initiated to manage the country’s economy, and good results have come out. Inflation has come down; agricultural production has increased substantially, imports have decreased, and exports have increased slightly, bringing Pakistan’s current account out of deficit.

Despite the efforts, some sections are not ready to pay any tax, so the policy of transferring the entire burden to the taxpayers has been adopted, which has broken the backs of the people.

On the other hand, non-tax-paying and tax-dodging sectors, including property, agricultural income, professionals, wholesalers, and retailers, are flourishing.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the poor and middle class are continuously targeted. At the same time, those belonging to influential sectors benefit from all possible reliefs and tax concessions. They will try to continue this trend even after the budget.

The government’s priorities will remain the same in the next financial year as before the budget. If the landed elite, real estate tycoons, wholesalers, retailers, and professionals continue to pay negligible taxes and carry on cash transactions, the tax burden will fall on the existing taxpayers and the public, reducing tax payments and investment.

He demanded that the government refrain from targeting the industrial sector to boost revenue.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that realizing the commoner’s plight, the government must bring the undocumented economy into the tax net to broaden the tax base and distribute the tax burden fairly.

It will help stop the continuous punishment of the common people and taxpayers. A fair and comprehensive tax system makes sustainable economic growth and prosperity possible.