President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said taxing agricultural income can help reduce poverty and unemployment.
Collection of mere Rs2 billion by provinces from a sector representing 19.2 percent of the GDP is a joke therefore the responsibility should be given to FBR, he said.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that proper inclusion of agriculture sector in the tax net can help the government achieve R5.5 trillion tax targets while reducing load on other sectors.
The former minister noted that the industrial sector is 21 percent of the GDP but it is paying seventy percent taxes, the services sector is sixty percent of the GDP but it is paying almost thirty percent of the taxes while the agricultural sector is paying less than one percent of taxes.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the taxation system is not balanced leading to deindustrialization and protests by trading community and it can be improved by imposing a tax on the agriculture sector.
He said that the majority of legislators have an agricultural background; they always claim to be serving masses but would not pay taxes. They should walk their talk by introducing a Constitutional amendment to make agriculture a federal subject.
Provinces lack capacity and will to collect agricultural tax and all they can do is collect Rs2 billion in taxes. Punjab pays Rs1.28 billion, Sindh Rs650 million, KP Rs88 million and Balochistan Rs12 million which is nothing as compared to potential.
He said that it is amazing that provinces would collect tax on the basis of the size of land and not on the basis of income which must be changed. Provincial tax authorities are very active in taxing the services sector but inactive when it comes to agriculture due to political pressure which is keeping provinces resource-starved and backward.
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Climate change a greater threat than Pakistan-India war: Mian Zahid
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said Pakistan and India are facing a serious threat of climate change which is a greater threat than war.
The devastation of climate change will be more serious than a war between Pakistan and India, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that climate change is no longer a scientific subject but a reality while south Asia remains most vulnerable area in the world but little has been done to tackle it.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the summer and winter are becoming extreme by the passage of time while heat waves have become a norm. Pakistan has faced up to 51 degrees centigrade of heat during last year which is a record, he added.
The former minister noted that the pattern climate and rains are rapidly changing while floods continue to hit masses. Glaciers are melting with a rapid pace damaging the river system.
He noted that Baluchistan and some areas of Sindh faces drought-like situation and dependence on groundwater is increasing, which has become a threat to already low agricultural output.
Air pollution has also emerged as a threat to agriculture, livestock, and masses but little has been done to tackle it.
Pakistan and India are more concerned about their share of water under the Indus water treaty and less concerned about the emerging threat of climate change which has hit tens of millions of people.
Pakistan is the eighth country in the list of nations vulnerable to climate change which calls for immediate action.
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Mian Zahid expresses concern over shrinking LSM sector
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said Large-scale manufacturing (LSM) is shrinking continuously.
The important sector of LSM is going down since the last eight months in a row which has increased worries about the industrial sector, revenue and employment, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the LSM distress is also discouraging local and foreign investors which is not good for the economy.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that last year the growth target of LSM was 8.1 percent but it fell by 3.6 percent. This year the LSM target has been revised to 3.1 percent which will be impossible to meet.
The former minister noted that the policies governing this important sector having a 10.7 percent share in the GDP and 80 percent share in overall manufacturing has made progress very difficult.
The sectors facing crunch include construction, iron, and steel, cement, pharmaceutical, automotive and petroleum sectors, he said, adding that the majority of investors are trying for survival, therefore, there is no question of new investments.
The veteran business leader said that many industrialists would support current interest rate, devaluation, and steps to reduce the deficit but they have reservations over the process of accountability, delayed and skewed decisions, lack of interest on the part of policymakers, developments over CPEC and absence of consensus on important economic matters.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that PPP ensured consensus on 18th Amendment and NFC Award while PML ensured the same on CPEC but the current government considers it wastage of time which is resulting in problems.
He said that efforts to bring economic stability amid political uncertainty is nothing more than wastage of time.