June 16, 2014
LAHORE – 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.
The revenue collection through wealth tax had reached over Rs40 billion 12 years back when it was suspended by Musharraf regime to protect elite class. If this tax is reimposed, the FBR can collect over Rs1.5 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 burden 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. He suggested govt 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 10m.
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.
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.
To a question, Mian Qayyum urged the FBR high ups to promote the employees of Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and Sialkot to inspector grades who have passed departmental examination in 2009. ‘Number of inspectors post are lying vacant throughout the country while the employees who qualified for inspectors’ post are very small in number’. FBR Union chief said that he has written a letter to Chairman Tariq Bajwa in this regard, arguing that there had been a rising resentment in the board employees who qualified examination for the post of inspectors.
A few elements are working against the appointments of the employees who passed inspectors’ examination, he said, adding that if the department did not promote, the alliance will be free to move the court of the law, he warned.
Regarding budget, union president Qayyum said no wealth tax had been announced despite a commitment in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) manifesto to do so and direct tax on agriculture income had been ignored once again. “No timeframe has been given for relief in electricity loadshedding and this is a cause of concern for all,” he said.
Qayyum said the opportunity of tax reforms had not been availed by the new team. Instead, the government resorted to old tactics of taxing the already taxed at higher rates.