ICCI shows concerns over imposition of new taxes on businesses through ordinance
Islamabad : The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has shown great concerns over the media reports that to meet the conditions of IMF, the government was preparing to introduce two ordinances to impose taxes of Rs.290 billion by abolishing tax exemptions of Rs.140 billion given to various sectors of the economy and slapping surcharge of Rs.150 billion on power consumers. ICCI termed it a negative move as it would further enhance the cost of doing business, give rise to inflation for the common man, badly affect the business growth and damage the confidence of potential investors. She expressed these views during a meeting with members of business community. Abdul Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI, Khalid Chaudhry former Senior Vice President ICCI and others were present at the occasion.
Fatma Azim, Acting President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the power tariffs in Pakistan were already considered highest in the region, which have caused high production cost and affected the competitiveness of our industrial sector. In these circumstances, imposing a huge burden of Rs.150 billion surcharge on power consumers would further enhance the manufacturing cost in Pakistan, lead to great increase in inflation for people and further slowdown the growth of business activities as a result of which, all efforts to revive the economy would be doomed to fail. Therefore, she urged that instead of levying the power surcharge of Rs.150 billion to tackle the circular debt, the government should focus on improving the performance of power companies by controlling their transmission & distribution losses and power theft issues.
The Acting President ICCI said that the withdrawal of existing tax exemptions of Rs.140 billion from various sectors would affect the growth of business activities and damage the confidence of investors. She said that consistency in tax policies was vital for businessmen and potential investors to make investment decisions. However, the frequent changes in tax policies would have a negative impact on both existing and potential investment. She said that the time-bound tax exemptions should be allowed to continue for the existing businesses and urged that the government should announce at least a 5-year tax policy to give a clear future direction to the businessmen and investors that would help them in making decisions for business expansion and investment with more confidence.
Abdul Rehman Khan, Vice President ICCI said that instead of imposing taxes through ordinances, the government should introduce such proposals in the parliament for thorough discussion on them so that the genuine interests of business and economy could be safeguarded instead of issuing ordinances just to appease the IMF. He said that the IMF loans have always created more problems for businesses and the common man, therefore, instead of relying on foreign loans, the government should focus on generating indigenous resources in order to promote self-reliance and put the country on the path of sustainable economic growth.