PESHAWAR: The business community and members of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SCCI) welcomed the appointment of Shabbar Zaidi as chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
While talking with Customs Today, they said Shabbar Zaidi’s posting as FBR chairman is a very good decision as he could make it a more organized and influential tax collecting agency.
Shabbar Zaidi, who recently assumed the charge of his office on an “honorary basis for a period of two years” and the business leaders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are appreciating government’s this move about Shabbar Zaidi, saying that this may be the first dent in the status quo which could help reform bureaucratic revenue collection regime in the country.
Supporting Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision of appointing Shabbar Zaidi as FBR chief, the traders and business leaders in Peshawar felt the decision will help to increase the revenue generation and expand the net revenue collection.
They also referred to the FBR chief’s directives restricting the tax officials from harassing the tax filers and freezing their accounts and said that it was one of the long-standing demands of the business community.
Faiz Muhammad Faizi, president of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), said besides being a tax expert, Shabbar Zaidi is a credible person. “We in the business community are relaxed and very confident that lacunas in the tax system would be removed under his leadership”.
“We are hopeful that FBR would now work in a professional way and the dream of expanding the tax net would come true. The target of accurate tax collection would be achieved,” he opined. “Look at his first orders that no account would be sealed without 24-hour prior intimation to the holder. It reflects the sign that he will take business-friendly course in tax collection,” Faizi noted.
Fuad Ishaq, Chairman Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Company and leading exporter said it was a wise step to bring in a trained professional who is an expert in accounting and taxation. “This is definitely going to change the tunnel-thinking approach towards collection and rates of taxation”.
Muhammad Ishaq, former vice-president of the chamber and a leading businessman, however, sounded pessimistic saying, “it will be near to impossible to implement whatever reforms and changes he (Shabbar Zaidi) has on his agenda, as he will face stiff resistance from the FBR officials because he is an outsider who used to plead tax cases before FBR officials.”
Zahidullah Shinwari, another business leader who has served on tax bodies of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, FBR and SCCI, also welcomed Shabbar Zaidi’s appointment and initial orders. However, he too saw tough challenges for him ahead.
He said the FBR had pledged to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that about Rs700 billion tax exemptions to some sectors including poultry, agriculture, etc would be done away with, but it would be impossible. He said a committee had been formed by former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for the purpose and he was also its member. However, he said no serious work was done to withdraw these huge exemptions which would now again be one of the massive challenges for the new Chairman FBR.