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Need for raising country’s tax base urged

Need for raising country’s tax base urged

LAHORE: There is an urgent need for raising the country’s tax base so that tax-to-GDP ratio improves from current 9 percent.  Exports are declining despite the government claiming to provide export-oriented industries with round-the-clock power supply and a concession of Rs. 3 per unit in the electricity tariff.  These views were expressed by All Pakistan Business Forum Ibrahim Qureshi.

APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi advocated the need for raising the country’s tax base so that tax-to-GDP ratio improves from current 9 percent. Besides governance challenges, adverse security perception, political instability and the foreign trade offices role is also vital for the continuity of enhancement in foreign investment.

He said that the rising trade deficit poses one of the most serious economic challenges for the government in its current term. When the present government came to power in 2013, the country’s annual trade deficit was $20.44 billion. It has been continuously on the rise since then while overall import bill rose 18.7% to $53 billion for 2016-17.

Moreover, exports are declining despite the government claiming to provide export-oriented industries with round-the-clock power supply and a concession of Rs. 3 per unit in the electricity tariff. But the fact is that electricity is available at Rs10.5/kwh for the industry in Pakistan as compared to Rs 7/kwh in other regional countries including Bangladesh. Further, gas is available at Rs 1,000 /MMBTU in Pakistan against Rs 400 in Bangladesh.