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Agri, wealth taxes can fulfil budget needs




  • LAHORE – The revenue collection through wealth tax had reached over Rs40 billion 10 years ago when it was suspended by Musharraf regime to protect elite class. If this tax is reimposed, the FBR can collect over Rs 1.5 trillion, said Federal Revenue Alliance Employees Union central president Mian Abdul Qayyum.

    Talking to The Nation, he said that the tax department can generate revenue equal to the total volume of federal budget through imposition of wealth tax and implementation of agri tax, which were debated much but never implemented.

    He stated that only salaried people are paying taxes and government is constantly putting more burdens on them due to flaws in existing tax system. He added that a number of landowners in parliament have consistently been rejecting agri tax, but now time has come to change this attitude, he said.

    The FBR Union central president said that Pakistan is a country that desperately needs revenue. Many of the problems we face today stem from this. It is right time to widen tax net. Apart from agri-tax, it must also be ensured that industrialists and others with sizeable assets do not escape tax net, he underlined.

    He stressed that homework for the imposition of levy on wealth should be completed before forthcoming budget.

    He said that if agriculture sector is brought into tax net along with wealth tax, there will be no need to approach WB, IMF or any other donor country. As landowners among richest people of Pakistan, it is an irony that they have, for decades, remained outside tax net, he said.

    He suggested government to declare agriculture as an industry so that farmers can also be brought into tax net.

    He recommended the govt to declare the national identity card of every citizen as an NTN. Through this, number of taxpayers will automatically reach over 10 million.

    He proposed the government to declare amnesty for black money after imposing 2 to 3 percent tax on it as due to BTB the account holders are withdrawing their black money from banks. Following the amnesty, the govt can generate trillions of rupees while banks business will also flourish as money will start to return from foreign accounts, he added.

    He also suggested the govt to give back FBR its autonomous status as was announced in 2007 act.  He informed that FBR Foundation has been registered with Welfare Department on the longstanding demand of the union. Under this foundation, the employees will avail housing, health and education facility.

    Courtesy The Nation

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