Traders call for simplifying present taxation system

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From Our Correspondent 
PESHAWAR: Business community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa blamed the present cumbersome procedures and documentation process as the main hurdle to broadening the existing ‘tax-base’ and urged the government to simplify the taxation system.  
It is dire need of hour of reforming and simplifying the taxation system with the consultation of real stakeholders, says Zahiullah Shinwari, former president Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry while responding to a question of an officer of 31st senior management course, National Institute of Management, Islamabad during a meeting here at Chamber’s house that was chaired by acting president Imran Khan Mohmand here on Wednesday.
Shinwari said the present complicated taxation system was the main obstacle in widening the existing tax-base. He called for simplifying the taxation system and adopting traders-friendly policies.
To another query relating to Pak-Afghan Bilateral Trade, ex-president of the SCCI said declining trend in mutual trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan began since singing of the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA) in earlier 2010, which had made without making proper consultation with business community of both side the border, consequently, Pak-Afghan bilateral trade volume dropped exponentially, which is currently stood at approximately less than 400 to 500 million dollars from previously 2.5billion dollars. 
Similarly, he expressed serious apprehensions over sluggish progress on the preferential trade agreement (PTA) and free trade agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Afghanistan. On the other hand, he added, the sufficient measures didn’t take place to improve infrastructure to accelerate trade between the two neighboruing countries.
A 14 member delegation of 31st Senior Management Course, NIM Islamabad was spearheaded by Directors Staff NIM Islamabad Samreen Zahara and Seemi A Khan. Javed Akhtar, vice president of the chamber, Malik Niaz Ahmad, Faiz Muhammad Faizi and Sherbaz Bilour, former presidents of the SCCI, former vice president Abdul Jalil Jan, executive members Ghulam Hussain, Naeem Qasmi, Waqar Ahmad, Zahoor Khan, Muhammad Aurangzeb, Mubjeebur Rehman and Aftab Iqbal, Fazle Wahid, Ihsanullah, Shamsur Rehman, Senior management/Officers of Daud Sons Armory Peshawar, traders’ leaders,
Shinwari said it is the duty of the government to create an enabling environment of investment and provide all facilities to investors to boost up industrialization. However, he said no incentive was being offered to attract investment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.  
Earlier, in his detailed multimedia presentation, Zahidullah Shinwari briefed the visiting officers of senior management course NIM Islamabad about the main objectives of the chamber, rules/procedures of membership, major achievements, future plan/programme, especially role of Research and Development Cell and its effective functioning.
He said SCCI is amongst the prime chamber of Pakistan, which has always played a pivotal role toward resolution of business community issues, especially, termed the provision of special relief to war-affected businesses, tax-holidays, and comprehensive incentive package for them included major achievements of the chamber.
Imran Mohmand, acting president in his opening remarks said doing business and trade in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is not less than ‘Jihad’ [holy war], as the traders’ community continued their businesses despite unfavorable conditions.
Keeping in view the present unstable and insecure situation in KP, the acting president urged the government to provide a level playing field for the business community of the province. He demanded the equal incentive to local investors that were provided to Chinese investors in CPEC projects.
Similarly, he demanded uninterrupted power and gas supply to industries and business premises. He called for pragmatic steps to revive sick industrial units and up-gradation of existing industrial estates in the province.
He also urged the government and SBP to issue instructions to commercial banks to improve lending ratio in KP region.
Directors Staff NIM Islamabad Samreen Zahara and Seemi A Khan also spoke on the occasion.