Karachi: The federal and provincial tax regime needs to be simplified and other number of taxes on SMEs may be reduced in order to make it easy for the SMEs to graduate towards larger corporations. There is a need for tax reforms which may result in lesser tax authorities optimizing the cost of doing business. The representatives from different mainstream political parties and business communities expressed their views during high level roundtable meeting organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in partnership of Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) here on 23rd February, 2018, here at a local hotel.
Dr. Arif Alvi, Member National Assembly of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) enforced the charter of economy and added that there should be a grass-root level ownership of the economic agenda. He raised the need to make the voters aware regarding their social issues. He also exerted the importance of nutrition of children, water scarcity and education. He further emphasized that the NGOs cannot cure the issues rather they should aim at guiding the government towards resolution of these issues.
Dr. Shahida Rehmani, Member National Assembly from PPP-P focused on the issues faced by the marginalized communities of Pakistan especially farmers and women. She also stressed on the need to give agriculture the status of industry and include incentivized value addition infrastructure at the agricultural land. She also highlighted the issue of urbanization and declining foreign direct investments in the country. She enlightened that PPP-P’s priority in elections 2018 are poverty alleviation, export promotion, better social safety nets, and youth empowerment.
Ms. Mehtab Akbar Rashidi, Member Provincial Assembly from PML-F describes the issues of tax compliance, women & youth inclusiveness. She also stressed on the need for manifesto based evaluation of the governmental performance based on the manifestos presented.
Mr. Muhammad Hussain Mehanti from Jamat-i-Islami said that the focus on the need for an Islamic Economic system and he also emphasized that economic stability and sustainability can be achieved only through ensuring good governance practices and curbing corruption at all levels. He also focused on reduction in income-expenditure gap.
Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director, SDPI highlighted that the cost of energy needs to be rationalized either through establishment of efficient energy infrastructure which may result in reduction of relevant surcharges and other levies. He also focused on the need of availability of quality skilled labour force particularly to meet the demands of growing manufacturing sector and CPEC SEZs. Furthermore, he stressed that the revival of agriculture and livestock sector in Pakistan, farmers must be protected from indirect and withholding mode of taxation. To promote local and foreign investment across all sectors, there is a need to reform the system of corporate taxes. Currently, the corporate taxes the private sector are one of the highest in the region. Along-side reform of tax administration, it is also important to strengthen audit capacities in all revenue authorities.
Other prominent speakers at the meeting included Engr. Jabbar Memon-Former Vice President FPCCI who focused on local industry integration in all mega economic schemes including CPEC. CEO Aman Foundation, presented their work on vocational training, Khalid Feroz-Former President KCCI, Ghazala Saifi-WCCI-Karachi South, Sohaib Jamali- Business Recorder, Zahid Mazhar SVP APTMA. Shahid Qureshi-President Pakistan Malaysia Friendship Asosciation and Hammad Siddiqui-Country Director CIPE. The meeting was attended by officials from PIDC, KATI, Balochistan Economic Forum, MNC Global and several media groups.