PESHAWAR  -  The Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has sought tax-exemption on plots meant for construction of industrial estates under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zone Development and Management Company.

The demand was made by SCCI President Faiz Muhammad Faizi in a meeting held with Secretary Excise and Taxation, Zafar Ali Shah here at the chamber house. In the meeting, former president FPCCI Ghazanfar Bilour, senior vice president Engr Saad Khan, vice president Haris Mufti, former presidents Zahid Shinwari, Malik Niaz Ahmad, Haji Afzal, and Director Excise and Taxation Fayaz Ali Shah, Director Revenue Excise and Taxation Salahuddin, other officials, and members of the SCCI executive committee were present.

On the occasion, SCCI president asked the KP Excise and Taxation department to fix property tax as per rental rates and equitable basis. He asked the authorities concerned to stop illegally harassing the business community on the name of tax-recovery. He also said that the BRT project multiplied the problems of the business community, which had already adversely affected due to prolonged weave of terrorism in the province. He added the chamber did flout a suggestion to exempt the BRT-affected traders from all kind of provincial taxes. Mr Faizi also claimed that the traders and industrialists had played an important role in creation of maximum job opportunities in the province, and urged the government to abolish the Excise and Taxation taxes in cantonment board area.

Later on, Secretary Excise and Taxation Zafar Ali Shah responding to questions and suggestions of the business community agreed with the reservations of the SCCI president Faiz Muhammad, and assured the community that no businessman or trader will be harassed during collection of property and professional taxes. He also assured that the department will bring easiness in the tax collection system for both tax-payer and tax collectors by issuance of prior intimation. He added the department is determined to alter vehicle registration and token tax system into smart card. The official said that the Excise and Taxation department will introduce reforms, adding the property tax exemption is not fallen in the domain of the provincial government. However, he assured to provide facilities to the business community in this regard, and the property tax of commercial properties floor-wise will be reviewed, he added.