LCCI calls for friendly mechanism to ensure tax expansion

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Chamber president says those who paid 20pc extra tax than previous year should be given audit exemption

LAHORE: Newly-elected Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Almas Hyder has called for a friendly mechanism to ensure much-needed expansion in the tax net.

Speaking at the LCCI Annual General Meeting, Almas Hyder said that a friendly mechanism was necessary to encourage the people to come into the tax net. He suggested that a scheme should be introduced for the business community in which people who have paid 20 per cent extra tax than the previous year would be exempted from the audit. “This will not only bring a huge number of people into the tax net but would also enable the government to meet its revenue targets,” he added.

The LCCI president urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman to extend the date for filing of income tax returns till October 30th, as the business community could not file their returns on time due to elections of trade bodies and problems in the online system.

An extension in the date for filing of returns would not only facilitate the business community but it would also strengthen public-private partnership, he maintained.

LCCI President Hyder on the occasion clarified that no land was available in Lahore for industrialization. Two years ago, LCCI identified 66,000 acres of land in south and north for the establishment of new industries but no notification was issued in this regard as yet, while the file was lying in the office of the Punjab chief minister, he lamented.

Shedding light on the issues faced by the business community of Lahore, he said the population of Lahore was over 10 million but the infrastructure was not up to the mark. “The airport in Lahore is smaller than the airports in the rural areas of China. Likewise, Lahore Railway Station has not improved one bit since 1947,” he noted, urging the government to immediately expand the premises of Lahore Airport and Lahore Railway Station, as these were the most important sources of trade and communication.

He also called for the establishment of more hotels of international standards to boost the hospitality industry.

Regarding improvements in the ease of doing business, he said international ranking of Pakistan, in the ease of doing business index, was 147. He said that cost of doing business was one of the major hurdles hampering the growth of all sectors of economy whether it was manufacturing or agriculture.

He said that Pakistan, like other developing countries of the region, was facing a daunting task of meeting its growing energy demand, which would double in the next few years. The government has to explore and exploit all of its resources to match the growing energy demands of domestic, manufacturing and agriculture sectors, he added.

Almas Hyder also spoke on the grave issues pertaining to depleting water resources, gap between imports and exports and smuggling.

He said that LCCI this year would prepare strong budget proposals in consultation with economic experts and business community leaders with an objective to ensure maximum allocations for various sectors of the economy.

The LCCI chief said that research and development was an area where proper attention could do miracles, adding that the LCCI would work for the promotion of research culture in Pakistan.

LCCI newly-elected Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir on the occasion said that the chamber would approach government ministries and civil bureaucracy to timely address the issues being faced by the business community as well as to make LCCI’s role more effective and meaningful.

He said that the youth population was a precious asset of the country and they would be encouraged to become entrepreneurs. He said LCCI would also raise its voice for construction of parking plazas in the city as almost all the traffic-related problems were because of non-availability of proper parking spaces.

LCCI Vice President Fahimur Rehman Saigol, outgoing president Malik Tahir Javaid, Election Commissioner Sohail Lashari, former LCCI presidents Iftikhar Ali Malik, Mian Shafqat Ali, Sheikh Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Ali Mian and executive committee members were also present on the occasion.

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