Qaiser opposes taxation in merged districts

Former speaker clarified that tax exemption was limited to sales tax, income tax

photo: file


Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Asad Qaiser, has highlighted the impact of the war on terror on ex-FATA and PATA regions in Pakistan, stressing the importance of honoring the promised tax exemption until 2028.

Qaiser emphasized that premature withdrawal of this exemption would undermine efforts to support industrial growth and employment generation in these areas.

Qaiser clarified that the tax exemption was limited to sales tax and income tax, with industrial units in FATA and PATA still paying significant customs duties amounting to Rs55 billion annually. He warned that the sudden imposition of additional taxes estimated at Rs25 billion by the FBR would severely disrupt an already fragile industry, leading to chaos and unrest.

Proposing a phased approach, Qaiser suggests implementing sales tax gradually over four years, with an initial rate of eight percent for the first two years and ten percent thereafter until 2028. He advocates for continued exemption from income tax during this period, given its minimal rate of two percent on industrial inputs. Qaiser highlights the vital role of industries in tribal districts, with around 260 units employing thousands and supplying local markets at subsidized rates.

Comparing industrial estates in settled districts to those in tribal areas, Qaiser underscores the disparity in factory numbers, emphasizing the need for equitable support. He points out substantial exemptions and subsidies provided to various sectors by the FBR, totaling around Rs2,000 billion, further underscoring the need to uphold commitments to ex-FATA and PATA regions.

Needless to say, a single industrial estate in settled districts has more factories than all of tribal districts combined while the exemptions and subsidies given to export oriented sectors, fertilizer sector and others amount to around Rs2,000 billion as per FBR. He reiterated that the people of FATA and PATA have borne the brunt of terrorism.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2024.


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