By Asad Cheema
RAWALPINDI: Urgent and special measures should be introduced in the upcoming budget announcement due to the coronavirus epidemic and lockdowns across the country, emphasised Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Saboor Malik.
Speaking during a video conference with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on budget proposals for fiscal year 2020-21, Malik said the chamber had earlier proposed the authorities to slash sales tax to 5% with immediate effect. â€œAll kinds of tax audits, recoveries and collections should be deferred and harassment by the authorities should not take place,â€ he stressed. While requesting the FBR to redirect its efforts and focus on the tax structure, the chamber president demanded that maximum benefit should be given to taxpayers. Revenue targets should be set at a low level in the budget, he said, adding â€œtax filers should be given credit on their income on the basis of average tax being paid monthly.â€ Malik emphasised that incentive and relief packages should be given to all sectors and source of income should not be asked for investment in any sector.
Better negotiations should be done with the International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions and relief should be sought, he added. He underlined the need for making efforts to get foreign loans taken from the World Bank and friendly countries written off. Exemption from Section 111 of the Income Tax Ordinance, which deals with unexplained income of individuals and companies, should be extended to all sectors, he suggested. Malik also called for passing the benefit of reduction in prices of petroleum products in the international market on to consumers. He pointed out that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, automobile, travel, wedding hall, hotel, event management and tourism businesses had been directly affected, hence, more concessions should be announced for these areas. Malik stressed that effects of the lockdown would be felt over the long term, therefore, special measures should be taken to tackle unemployment arising from the suspension of businesses. Immediate measures were also required to uplift agriculture-based businesses, he said.