PESHAWAR: The business community has urged the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to not impose further taxes on them.
This was said during a meeting convened by Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said at the KPCCI office on Wednesday. A large number of traders and industrialists attended the moot to discuss challenges faced by businessmen in the province. During the meeting, Said announced the formation of a financial advisory committee which would account for the needs of traders in policy.
Traders and businessmen told the finance minister the K-P government might seem eager to revive the industrial sector and set up new economic zones, but it has yet to pay attention to existing industrial estates which are in a deplorable condition. They said new taxes will not only negate the government’s efforts but also deter investors from other parts of the country.
“Businesses should be exempted from all new taxes,” said KPCCI President Zulfiqar Ali Khan. “Businesses have been negatively impacted by terrorism and cannot afford to bear the additional burden of such levies.”
According to Zulfiqar, the federal government has provided five years of relief in sales and turnover taxes along with other privileges.
“The bribes we pay to taxation officers are more than the actual tax itself,” Sohail Rauf, a local businessman, said. “It is these officers who reveal all possible methods to evade taxes.” He added small businessmen cannot afford to pay such exorbitant levies.
Many businessmen and traders told the finance minister that national banks were reluctant to invest in the province. They urged provincial financial institutions to provide loans for the industrial sector.
Traders asked the minister to adopt industry-friendly policies to revive the sector.
Rauf also asked Said to press the federal government to revoke the 0.6% withholding tax on banking transactions. He added businessmen will stop all transactions and opt for alternatives.
Speaking on the occasion, Zahidullah Shinwari, former KPCCI president, said the amount received from the federal government through the NFC award should be spent on industrialisation and hydroelectric power generation projects.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2015.