Sheikh Amir Waheed, President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry ICCI said that budget 2018-19 is apparently a balanced budget as government has tried to provide relief to some sectors of the economy and to the common man. However, he said a comprehensive analysis of the budget could be given after going through its detail. He was addressing a press conference after listening to the budget speech of Dr. Miftah Ismail, Federal Minister Finance at Chamber House. Muhammad Naveed Malik Senior Vice President, Nisar Mirza Vice President ICCI, Khalid Javed, Zafar Bakhtawari, M. Ejaz Abbasi, Major Rafique, Tariq Sadiq, Khalid Iqbal Malik, Khalid Chaudhry, Yousaf Rajput, Malik Ahsan and others were also present at the occasion. He said withdrawing the powers of Chief Commissioners and Commissioners of FBR through finance bill 18-19 was a highly laudable step as it would reduce the element of harassment in the taxpayers and improve their confidence. He said gradual decrease in super tax and corporate tax would provide relief to the corporate sector. He said government has provided tax relief in budget to livestock and poultry sectors which is appreciable. However, he said that government should have allowed duty free import of all industrial machinery and technology which was a key demand of the private sector to compete effectively in CPEC projects. He said keeping policy rate low by SBP for the last many years was a good decision as it has benefited the private sector. Further, enhancing the income tax threshold up to 1.2 million for individuals was a positive step as it would provide sufficient relief to the salaried class. However, government should have provided same tax relief to the AOPs in the budget. Similarly raising 10 percent salary and pension and enhancing minimum pension was also appreciable. Sheikh Amir Waheed said that government has not provided any significant relief to the real estate sector in the budget. This sector has been burdened with heavy taxes in previous budgets and realtors were expecting that government would provide them relief but their expectations have not been fulfilled. Tax on capital gain was also not reduced in the budget. He said that it is a strong demand of the business community to bring sales tax to single digit level, but government paid no attention to this important demand.
The writer is Staff Reporter at ‘Mélange Intl. Magazine’ & ‘The Asian Telegraph’.