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 lauded the decision of Army to freeze its budget which is an expression of patriotism and sharing the burden with the government. The move of the COAS Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa is highly laudable but unsuitable in the current situation as internal and external threats to the country have increased manyfold, he said.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that extremists have been elected in India, tensions between the US and Iran continues, the role of Afghanistan is obvious while the situation in Waziristan has taken an ugly turn which calls for enhanced resources allocation for the defence of the homeland.
The former minister noted that Pakistan is spending just 13513 dollars annually on a soldier which is less than one-third of what India spends on its soldier while our Army is successfully fighting a multi-dimensional war with many countries and terrorists at home.
Moreover, he said, the military budget caters for salaries of seven lakh soldiers, running best intelligence agency, the world’s fifth largest nuclear and missile programme and research and development. Defence forces also spend part of their budget during floods, earthquakes, rescue operations and polio programme etc., he added.
He said that the dysfunctional state institutions and tax relaxations to certain sectors cost almost double than the defence budget without contributing anything. Tax breaks and keeping the mismanaged and failed institutions alive can never be as important as the defence of Pakistan therefore their budget should be slashed and the amount should be allocated for defence sector.
He said that some politicians have also followed footsteps of Army by ten percent reduction in perks which is insufficient. Politicians should not get hefty subsidies and they should not be authorised to increase their perks, privileges by themselves.
Amnesty scheme the best decision of the government: Mian Zahid Hussain
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 amnesty scheme is one of the best decisions of the government.
The move has the potential to steer the country out of the economic mess if the scheme is improved in line with the reservations of the stakeholders, he said.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the draft of the scheme should be amended to attract people.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the scheme introduced by the former government failed to achieve results as they were not attractive and people opted not to avail it.
The former minister noted that a reason for the reluctance of the people was lack of action after the scheme but now the Prime Minister Imran Khan has hinted a strict action after June 30th which if implemented will set an example.
He lauded the decisions of the PM Imran Khan regarding burdening rich instead of poor in the upcoming budget, keeping GST at the previous level, bringing middlemen into tax net, and the imposition of health tax on cigarettes and beverages.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the government cannot increase taxes and exports at the same time. It has to choose one as increasing taxes will help it generate funds while increasing exports will help tackle twin deficits.
Zero rating facility should not be withdrawn as it is among few options to stabilize forex reserves which are under constant threat due to prevailing challenges.
He said that the policy of blocking refunds eat into the confidence of investors and proved harmful for exports which must be reversed without any delay.
Zahid Sees budget 2019 reflective of PTI vision
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 Thursday lauded the annual budget terming it visionary and reflective of the vision of PTI. The tax target of Rs5555 billion is a challenge but keeping in view the actual potential it is not impossible as the government claims that masses have full faith in the person of Imran Khan and they would cooperate, he said.
Talking to the business community, Mian Zahid Hussain said that independent experts suggest that actual tax potential is Rs8500 billion while the World Bank has estimated it to be Rs10000 billion while the total tax collected during the current year is Rs4000 billion against the target of 4400 billion rupees.
The veteran business leader said that hundreds of thousands of traders earning Rs400000 have been brought into the tax net which will be wastage of time and resources of the FBR, therefore, tax limit should be increased to Rs1.2 million so that authorities could focus on big tax evaders.
The former minister noted that budget deficit which was Rs1600 billion has now jumped to Rs3350 billion while the developmental budget has been increased from Rs 900 billion to 1863 billion which would be a challenge.
Mian Zahid Hussain noted that withdrawal of zero-rating can hit exports by two billion dollars as Rs400 billion refunds of the textile sector are already stuck. The GDP has slipped from the target of 6.2 percent to 2.9 percent and now the government has targeted four percent growth rate while IMF and Moody’s has projected a growth of 2.5 percent. He suggested the establishment of an autonomous body which can reduce the cost of doing business for exports and bringing the cost on inputs at par with the regional countries. Companies should be formed comprising experts and 25 top exporters for different exports sectors which will look after processing, branding, marketing certification, and standardization.
He noted that chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi is taking interest in resolving issues of the business community and improving the investment climate. He has chosen a difficult task for himself which must be lauded.