Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry demands tax on Agriculture

LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Thursday demanded of the government to impose Agriculture Tax without any further delay and ensure business community representation in all economy related policy-making government bodies and institutions.

The demands were raised by the LCCI Acting President Sheikh Mohammad Arshad while chairing a post-budget discussion with Anjuman-e-Tajiran here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

President Anjuman-e-Tajiran Mohammad Ashraf Bhatti, former LCCI President Mohammad Ali Mian, Executive Committee Members Mian Zahid Javaid, Yousuf Shah, Ch Wajid Ali, Ghulam Sarwar Malik and former PIAF Chairman Mian Abuzar Shad also spoke on the occasion.

Elaborating the demands, the LCCI Acting President said the Agriculture share in GDP is 22 percent but unfortunately its share in revenue in negligible and the only existing tax payers are burdened every time which is unjustified. He said that by taking agriculture sector into the tax net, the government would be able to achieve revenue target with ease.

The LCCI Acting President further said that only due to little representation of stakeholders in policy making bodies and institutions, the economy is facing a sharp decline. Had the private sector been taken onboard in policy making process in the past, the economic situation today would have been quite encouraging.

The LCCI Acting President also urged the government to rationalise duties on petroleum products as the huge profit being pocketed by the government was not only making Pakistani merchandise uncompetitive in the global market but it was also earning bad name for the government as the same is putting a very negative impact on economy and hitting all the sectors alike.

To cope with energy shortages in the long run, Sheikh Mohammad Arshad said that there was a dire need to focus on construction of water reservoirs as it is the only solution to ensure cheaper electricity.

He said that the government should bring down the interest rate to single digit for being a prerequisite to expedite the process of industrialization and the taxable limit for income tax should be increased to Rs.400,000.

Due to harassment of the tax officials the people are not willing to come into tax-net, the system of the tax department should be reformed to encourage new taxpayers. The discretionary powers of tax departments and its officials should be curtailed. He said that chambers and trade associations should taken into confidence before issuing notices to the businessmen who are contributing to the economy despite difficult economic scenario.

Sheikh Mohammad Arshad said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry acts as a bridge between the Government and the business community. It also tries to ensure a business-friendly environment through sharing views with the government and by taking all the stakeholders onboard on all the economy related issues. The primary objective of LCCI is to protect the interests of the business community while remaining committed to the cause of development of the country.

Speaking on the occasion, President Anjuman-e-Tajiran Mohammad Ashraf Bhatti assured the LCCI Acting President of his fullest support for the cause of business community. He said that it was very unfortunate that the business activity had gone down to alarming levels but the government had failed to give any concrete plan to expedite economic activities.

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