LAHORE-The Lahore Chamber Saturday welcomed the removal of cash margin requirement on goods import and termed it a step in right direction by the State Bank of Pakistan. In a statement, President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kashif Anwar, Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry and Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt said that due to measures taken to minimize imports, the industry was facing shortage of raw materials, machinery and other inputs which was affecting all the sectors. They said that the blockage of funds situation was arising due to the condition of 100% cash margin but now the situation would take a positive turn around.
They said that the removal of cash margin will support the ease of doing business in Pakistan as a number of companies were facing shortage of raw materials due to imposition of cash margin restriction. They said that the SBP has taken a wise decision by removing the cash margin restriction.
They said that the government should also eliminate regulatory duty, customs duty and additional customs duty on essential raw materials. Apart from this, the issues of pending refunds and multiple audits should also be resolved besides reducing the rate of withholding tax for businesses. They said that our industries are also facing problems like policy rate which has reached to 20% and high energy cost due to which the business cost has also increased a lot.“We have always insisted on increasing the tax base. We have suggested the government to immediately announce the Declaration Scheme so that Undeclared Foreign Reserves can become part of our economy”, they added.
They said that apart from this, there are some issues regarding taxation. Currently taxpayers have to undergo multiple audits of income tax and sales tax. We appeal that the number of these audits should be reduced. Apart from this, existing taxpayers have to bear all the audits, penalties, surcharges, bank attachments, inquiries, statements, returns, withholding of registered persons, penalty for late filing of statements/income tax returns and many other problems. The current situation demands that the rate of penalties and surcharges should be reduced for taxpayers.
They said that as income tax audit is conducted after every 4 years, sales tax audit should be conducted as income tax audit.
They said that there is an urgent need to simplify the tax system. He said that keeping in view the economic situation of the country, Lahore Chamber has also informed the leaders of almost all major political parties of Pakistan through letters that LCCI has formulated some important proposals to fix the current economic situation of the country. LCCI has requested them to share their Economic Manifesto with us so that we can help create a Charter of Economy that expresses the position of all political parties. He requested the State Minister to play his role in this regard so that all political organizations cooperate with us. There is no doubt that political stability is essential for economic stability.