ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Wednesday urged the government to take strong measures to reduce tax gap in order to realize the actual tax potential of Pakistan and to improve the country’s tax revenue.
In a statement issued by the chamber, ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal said Pakistan has substantial potential to enhance tax revenue without imposing new taxes or increasing tax rates.
“The only requirement is to take appropriate steps with regard to reducing the tax gap and creating a conducive environment for tax compliance,” he maintained.
Moughal appreciated the prime minister for nominating Shabbar Zaidi, a chartered accountant and a tax expert from the private sector, for the chairmanship of Federal Board Revenue (FBR).
“This move will make FBR a more dynamic and proactive tax collection agency. However, the federal cabinet has reportedly not approved his appointment as yet, which has created more confusion,” he stated.
He stressed that the government should settle this issue without further delay as FBR needed a dynamic leadership that could introduce drastic reforms in the organization so as to make it an efficient and effective tax collection body.
Quoting a recent World Bank report titled ‘Pakistan Revenue Mobilization Project’, the ICCI president pointed out that there was a 50pc gap between actual and potential tax receipts in Pakistan while the country’s tax revenue potential would reach 26pc of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if tax compliance was to be raised to 75pc, which was a realistic level of compliance for developing countries like Pakistan.
The ICCI chief said the government has reportedly developed a transformation road map for FBR which was a laudable step as the move envisioned making the tax department a semi-autonomous revenue authority with financial, managerial and operational autonomy.
He said Pakistan’s revenue performance has improved significantly, as it rose from 9.5 per cent of GDP in 2011-13 to 13 per cent in 2017-18, which was appreciable.