KARACHI: In a rare show of strength, top representatives of all the country’s chambers of commerce and industry gathered in Karachi and asked the government to revamp the tax collection system if it wants to increase revenue collection in the country.
The representatives sat for a whole day to prepare a single document for budget proposals and present it to the government at least two months before the next budget.
The meeting was hosted by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) with the tagline ‘Stop seeking IMF loans, go for economic revival’.
“Our budgets are prepared by the bureaucracy and not our elected representatives, which is why every year Pakistan falls short of meeting the tax collection target,” said former KCCI president Siraj Kassim Teli.
“This must end now and we will tell the government how it can increase tax collection without harassing the taxpayers,” he said.
Presidents and vice presidents of different chambers criticised the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for failing to make an effective tax collection system.
“Our successive governments have followed a policy of divide and rule. But now that we are united here on one platform, no government can ignore us anymore,” former chairman of Sindh Board of Investment, Zubair Motiwala, said.
They also decided to make a budget and present it to the government that can suggest ways of increasing tax collection without harassing the taxpayers. However, they pressed the government to start collecting taxes from the rich who are not registered with the tax system instead of harassing existing taxpayers.
Representatives of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry commented that businessmen want to help the government and pay taxes according to their due share.
Representatives of the Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the government to revamp the tax collection system to target rich who are not paying any taxes.
After a busy day, businesspersons held a press conference and hoped that their show of strength will force the government to carefully consider their budget proposals.
Representatives of Peshawar, Quetta, Gilgit-Baltistan, Sukkur, Khairpur, Okara, Sargodha and some other chambers also spoke at the press conference.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2014.