KARACHI - Acting president of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Khalid Tawab has advocated significant increase in tax-to-GDP ratio for effective governance of the country and to deliver essential public services.

He was addressing a pre-budget conference organised jointly by the FPCCI and Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan at the FPCCCI head office. He said that investors, industrialists and general public are major concerned parties of budgetary measures, although they have several limitations in making their comments or proposing amendments. He lamented that despite many changes in tax regimes and introduction of new taxes, the tax-to-GDP ratio has varied narrowly around 10 percent. The tax base has grown but still remains narrow and skewed; he said adding that only 0.912 million people out of a population of 187 million are income tax return filers and only 0.115 million are sales tax return filers.

Sheikh Khalid Tawab said that the traditional approach for financing the deficit and mobilization of resources through heavy indirect taxes have been damaging the economy. Supporting the views of Khalid Tawab, Senator Haseeb Khan said that the marginal ups and downs in economic indicators do not provide a sustainable solution; they cannot change our global placing in economic ranking.

He pointed out that growing poverty, outflow of investment; lower capacity to generate public revenue; high debt and social unrest are the common phenomena.

He said that business sector is significantly contributing in the economic activities including employment generation, value addition, foreign exchange earning and contribution in national exchequer and also in socio-cultural development of the society.

Dr. Shahid Hasan Siddiqui, Zahid Saeed and Asif S. Kasbati also highlighted their views on coming federal budget.