LAHORE - The LCCI has demanded of the FBR to withdraw SRO 608(I)/2014 as in the presence of huge smuggling and massive under invoicing it would not be possible for the govt to get desired economic results.

The LCCI President Engineer Sohail said that at a time when the economy was passing through very critical times of its recent history because of the shortage of gas and electricity, new taxation measures like SRO 608(I) 2014 are bound to create a wrong impression about the government.

He said that the govt would have to weed out the menace of smuggling and under-invoicing before implementing any tax avoidance measures. Lashari said that it was very unfortunate that instead of widening tax base and bringing the untaxed sectors into the tax net, steps are being taken to squeeze the existing tax payers. He said that the FBR which was established with an objective to facilitate the trade and industry but it has now been turned into a money making machine and the people sitting at the helm are not only unaware of the ground realities but are least concerned about the problems and the day-to-day challenges being faced by the businessmen.

He also said that at a time when both the trade and industry were looking for a relief package to run their businesses, they are being pushed to the wall by issuing SROs like SRO 608(I)/2014.

Chamber understands well that a quantum jump in Tax-to-GDP ratio is in dire need but it also believes that this objective could only be achieved through facilitation of existing businesses instead of playing arm-twisting with them. FBR and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry were not on the same page on the issue as the FBR wants documentation of the economy through this controversial SRO while the LCCI believes that all the untaxed sectors should be taxed and enforcement of Professional tax needs to be strengthened.

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry is firm on its stand and calls for early withdrawal of the SRO 608(I)/2014.

The LCCI President said that the FBR should avoid implementing the SRO without the consultation of the business community for being the main stakeholders and if the FBR requires to amend existing policies, it should make the changes through public private dialogue (PPD).

The LCCI feels that the Federal Board of Revenue is shifting its burden of monitoring and tracking of the tax system on business community which is unjust and unethical.