PM prefers national interest on popularity
Country is facing many challenges with economic instability on the top of the list which requires bold decisions. The economy is on the ventilator but some elements are not ready to understand this reality and they are only concerned with their profits which is deplorable. Tax evasion has become part of the culture which is being changed to avoid bankruptcy, therefore, masses must cooperate with the government. Inflexible attitude of the Prime Minister on tax matters is not a choice but a compulsion as the country is on the brink of disaster. Plunder in the name of the business and making money without paying taxes is no more an option.
The inconclusive meetings between the business community and the PM, Advisor to the PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Ministers and Chairman FBR have raised grave concerns among the masses. The failure of the business community to get any relaxation will result in uneasiness and uncertainty, therefore, the government should show some flexibility so that wheels of the economy could move.
The masses, industrialists and traders are not ready to accept recent tax measures resulting in protests and strikes while many businesses have been closed. A large number of factories have also been closed while many are selling their businesses. There are host of steps taken in the budget which need some clarification for which businessmen are striving but to no avail. Some changes in the tax system have made import of some items profitable than its manufacturing in the country which must be noted.
Interest rates have been doubled in the last one year, rupee has lost almost fifty percent of the value and taxes have been increased by 35 percent which has added to the cost of doing business while some businesses have simply failed. Under these tough circumstances some traders and industrialists are not favouring more taxes which has the potential to bankrupt their ventures.
Therefore, the government has put its popularity at stake in the larger national interests which is highly laudable. Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to rely on taxes to run the country and avoid unnecessary borrowing which will pave the way for self-sufficiency. Previous regimes avoided bold decisions and repeatedly took U-turns over tax matters which shook the foundations of economy and ballooned foreign debt to over 100 billion dollars.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has done the right thing by rejecting the unjustified demands of the business community which is only concerned about its profit. Demands of traders, industrialists, brokers, and bankers were self-serving and their acceptance would have amounted to rolling back the economic programme and allowing bankruptcy of the country.
Tax measures should not be reversed and strict action should be taken against non-complaint businessmen as it has become a matter of survival for the country and cannot survive without taxes and everyone should discharge national obligations. The current government will not be blackmailed by protests and strikes as the majority of those claiming leadership of traders are unelected and driven by other motives.
Some industry groups are also behind the traders because their interests are also threatened by the bold steps of the government aimed at reviving the economy. Many governments have tried their best to bring wholesalers and retailers in the tax net by using persuasion, tax breaks, and incentives but nothing worked which indicate that they are only concerned about making money.
The services sector is more than fifty percent of the GDP but its tax contribution is less than 25 percent which must be fixed. The government to take steps to bring real representatives of the business community to the front, collect taxes from the business community and discourage corruption in tax machinery to reduce poverty, improve the economy and save the country from catastrophic consequences.