Aurangzeb’s decision to tax tribal area industries laudable

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Aurangzeb’s decision to tax tribal area industries laudable

ISLAMABAD, MAY 18 /DNA/ – Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr Shahid Rasheed Butt on Saturday welcomed the decision of the Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb to bring erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) into the tax net. 

The move will increase revenue, reduce distortions in the tax system, and ensure equitable conditions for industries across the country, which is a long-standing demand by the troubled industrial sector of the settled areas. 

Shahid Rasheed Butt said in a statement issued here today that many people have established industrial units producing iron, ghee, cooking oil, textiles, plastic and other items in erstwhile FATA and PATA. 

They have been given tax exemptions so the local population can get cheaper goods. However, many industrialists produce more than the local demand and smuggle their production to Afghanistan and into the settled areas of Pakistan.

This practice ensures good profit to the FATA and PATA industrialists but creates problems for the industries in the settled areas, as they cannot reduce their business costs to match those of the industries established in tribal areas.

The business leader said that unnecessary tax concessions on political grounds had not helped the local population or the government but crooked industrialists to make billions. 

Industries in FATA and PATA also enjoy tax relaxations when importing raw materials. Still, many sell their imported material in Karachi, which causes the government to lose billions of rupees in revenue. This practice must be stopped immediately, he demanded.

Shahid Rashid Butt said that ever since the industries in erstwhile FATA and PATA were given tax concessions, the industries in other areas have been demanding equal treatment.

Now, the finance minister is taking a bold step in the right direction, which has been needed for a long time. Ensuring a level playing field for the industrial sector will solve a big problem. 

He noted that most of the industries established in the former tribal areas have become a powerful mafia against which action has become necessary. 

He said factories have been set up in different country cities, including Islamabad. Still, they are acting as illegal sale points for illegal goods produced in former FATA and PATA, against which action is necessary.