INTERVIEW WITH ANJUM NISAR, FORMER PRESIDENT KCCI

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Apr 11 - 17, 2011

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF.

ANJUM NISAR: I started my business when I was doing my graduation from Govt Collage of Commerce and Economics. After graduation, I continued my education in IBA, along with business activities. After the completion of my post graduation, I started giving full time to my business of Chemicals. However, during mid 1980s, I switched to food business starting with the world famous Langnese Bee Honey and after that there was no looking back. Our company kept bringing new world class consumer brands into Pakistani market. Brands such as Caroli cooking oils, Delmonte (the world's largest canned food stuff company), Dilmah Tea, Jolen cream bleach, La Espanola Olive Oil, Pokka fruit juices, etc. Almost all the said brands are absolute market leaders in their respective categories. I belong to a very respectable business family. Most of our community people are involved in different business sectors and are business tycoons of the country. I am married with four children: Two daughters and two sons. I am also involved in business politics and has served in different capacities and have been on boards of all major universities, board of Port Qasim Authority and I am also the former president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ABOUT RECENT INCREASE IN PRICES OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS.

ANJUM NISAR: We understand that petroleum prices are on the rise in international markets and in normal times we should pass on them to the consumers as it happens all over the world but here in Pakistan the consumers feel that first government should eradicate corruption, provide education and other basic facilities and security to its people.

They should see justice and fair system for all and not only for the rich ones and further any increase in petroleum prices has an impact on all other items and results in higher inflation which ultimately affects the buying power of consumer. So, during these times we are against the increase in the petroleum prices due to the factors mentioned above.

PAGE: WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO CONTROL INFLATION IN PAKISTAN?

ANJUM NISAR: If we really wish to control inflation then we have to do the following on urgent basis.

a) We have to discontinue the current policy of increasing discount rate every other month.

b) State Bank has to be an autonomous body in a true sense.

c) State Bank should not allow the government to borrow more than the fixed limits.

d) We have to increase supply side in order to bring inflation down.

e) There is a need to increase tax base ratio to GDP so that the government has resources and does not need to borrow or print money, which results in higher inflation.

PAGE: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT FLOOD SURCHARGE ON INCOME AND INCREASE IN SPECIAL EXCISE DUTY?

ANJUM NISAR: We are not against helping flood victims or other people in need but again this is not the way to impose taxes and generate revenue. Government is taxing those people again and again who are already in the tax net and due to this policy the business community of Pakistan is already under heavy tax burden and due to this continuous taxing the tax to GDP ratio on business community is over 60 per cent whereas their share in GDP is only around 26 per cent and as a result of said policy today we are no more competitive in international market and thus our export growth is affected.

PAGE: WHAT SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT DO TO PROMOTE TAX CULTURE?

ANJUM NISAR: In order to promote tax culture, we need to create a taxpaying environment. Today, people who are not in the tax net feel much better and relaxed than those who are in tax net. First of all the tax rates have to be brought down specially the sales tax rate. Secondly all sectors of the economy should be fairly taxed which is the very old demand of business community such as agriculture sector, services sector and even those business sectors which are still not in tax net.

PAGE: WHAT INCENTIVES ARE NEEDED TO ENCOURAGE TAX PAYMENTS?

ANJUM NISAR: There is no need of giving any major incentive to bring people in tax net except the basic facilities such as clean water, proper health facilities, fair education system, basic infrastructure, electricity and gas as affordable rates, security, fair system for all classes, and respect to taxpayers. As I said earlier, we need to develop an environment which is investment friendly, tax friendly and finally the people friendly.