The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) showed concerns over reports that the government was preparing to introduce two ordinances to impose taxes worth Rs290 billion by abolishing tax exemptions of Rs140 billion given to various sectors of the economy and slapping a surcharge of Rs150 billion on power consumers to meet conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Terming the move as negative, ICCI acting president Fatima Azim said it would further enhance the cost of doing business, give rise to inflation, badly affect business growth and damage the confidence of potential investors.
During a meeting with the business community, Azim said the power tariffs in Pakistan were already considered the highest in the region, which have led to high production cost and affected competitiveness of our industrial sector.
Therefore, the office-bearer urged that instead of levying the power surcharge of Rs150 billion to tackle the circular debt, the government should focus on improving the performance of power companies by controlling their transmission and distribution losses and power theft issues.
The acting president stated that withdrawal of existing tax exemptions of Rs140 billion from various sectors would affect growth of business activities and damage the confidence of investors.
She maintained that consistency in tax policies was vital for businessmen and potential investors to make investment decisions.
However, frequent changes in tax policies would harm both the existing and potential investors.
Azim said that the time-bound tax exemptions should be allowed to continue for the existing businesses.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2021.