Rawalpindi-The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has submitted proposals to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for consideration and incorporation in the federal budget for 2022-23.

This was stated by President RCCI Nadeem Rauf while talking to APP here Wednesday.

Showing grave concerns about the country’s current economic condition, President RCCI demanded that all the political parties sign a charter of economy and follow a single economic manifesto that should be evolved in consultation with the stakeholders.

He said that the proposals had been categorized into income tax, sales tax, excess of FBR powers and import and export, with a particular focus on the documentation of the economy. “Currently, the rate of sales tax is 17 percent higher in the subcontinent. The rate should be reduced to single-digit,” he added.

Rauf strongly urged the government to revert the taxes imposed in the mini-budget 2022 earlier this year by slapping a 17 percent tax at the import stage on nearly 80 items, adding that the majority of these items were essential and did not fall in the category of luxury goods.

He further added that it was miserable that the government had imposed 17 percent GST on medicines, resulting in depression among the poor masses.

Rauf said that 17 percent sales tax had been imposed on importing machinery for renewable energy, including solar, wind and nuclear power generation. This contradicted the government’s policy on renewable energy and was contrary to the global direction, he said and added that we have only around 3 million people filing their income tax returns, out of which one million filed as zero. Therefore, all the persons with industrial or commercial electricity or gas connections be brought into the tax net, he proposed.

He said that this is the era of technology and it is recommended to consolidate the entire provincial and federal sales tax returns. “The limitation of 1000 sq. ft was unjustified, and this needs consideration,” he remarked.

Rauf said the robust linkage between the government and private sector boosts the economy, creates a friendly environment, generates employment, attracts investment and helps in the growth of the SME sector.

He strongly recommended that harassment on tax collection, registration and assessment must be stopped. The excesses (Section 38) have ruined the business activities and damaged the business people’s reputation. Therefore, it was recommended that permission from the board was necessary, and rules were made for the requirement to exercise this provision, he added.

He said that the treatment of the taxpayers under the garb of reduction in sales was not acceptable.

It is highly recommended that the sales tax may be imposed on a fixed basis and may add this industry to the 9th schedule of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 basis on the electricity consumption. This will reduce the documentation cost and will increase the revenue multi times, the President RCCI said.

He stressed the need to improve the trust level between the tax inspectors and the tax collector. “We recommend that taxpayers be given respect, and awards and recognition must be given to higher taxpayers. Discounted rates besides dedicated treatments for the taxpayers in the hospitals, airports, schools and colleges and universities, and privilege cards be offered,” he added.