Punjab government to abolish ‘unnecessary taxes’

Finance minister assures businessmen of unifying labour-related taxes

​ Our Correspondent July 23, 2019

LAHORE: The Punjab government has assured the business community that it will abolish almost 50 unnecessary taxes besides clubbing the collection of property, professional and labour-related taxes.

The assurance was given by Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht in a meeting with Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Almas Hyder on Monday.

The objective of the meeting was to resolve the issues faced by the business community regarding tax collection and harmonisation of taxes in the province.

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Acknowledging the suggestion of businessmen, Bakht assured them of unifying labour-related taxes besides merging professional and property taxes.

He declared that the government would pass a legislation to end unwanted regulations in a bid to promote trade and investment.

“Besides, the government is revisiting rules and regulations and introducing business-friendly policies to aid the ease of doing business,” he asserted. “Resolving problems of the business community is the top most priority of the government.”

The minister instructed the Punjab Revenue Authority chairman, who was also present on the occasion, to evaluate the impact on revenue of abolishing the infrastructure cess from dry ports in Punjab.

He urged the chamber to prepare and present a plan for the revival of dry ports in the next meeting so that the government could be able to make a final decision.

Bakht gave instructions to the industries department to prepare alternative plans for the revival of dry ports.

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The meeting also discussed the issue of revival of real estate sector. Punjab Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal noted that property tax was an important component of revenue collection but the government had ignored it and the real estate sector was on the verge of collapse.

He stressed the need for effective planning for revival of the real estate sector.

Earlier during discussions, the LCCI president mentioned that the business community was compelled to pay 47 taxes in a year, which increased the burden on companies.

He highlighted that bigger companies managed to file tax returns through agents and lawyers while small businessmen had to shut down their business for a day or two to meet the requirement of the tax department.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2019.

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