KARACHI: Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli and President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Junaid Esmail Makda, while warmly welcoming the assurance given by Prime Minister Imran Khan during his last meeting with Karachi’s business community, stated that the Karachi Chamber fully supports the government’s resolve to bring everyone into the tax net as higher number of taxpayers would result in dividing the tax burden and ultimately ensure relief to existing taxpayers who are currently overburdened with exorbitant taxes and duties. In a joint statement issued, Chairman BMG and President KCCI categorically stated that Karachi Chamber’s membership base comprises of taxpayers only who all have valid NTN numbers. “KCCI firmly believes that everyone should pay taxes and it was a matter of pride for us that we represent a city that contributes a mammoth amount of more than 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer in shape of taxes, duties and other levies”, they said, adding that everyone should be taxed and no tax exemptions should be granted to favorites as it is the prime responsibility of every citizen to contribute towards the progress and prosperity of Pakistan by paying all the applicable taxes. They further urged the FBR to post the city-wise taxation details and relevant statistical data on its website so that actual position could be brought into the limelight and other cities, which were contributing less taxes, must also be taken to task. Chairman BMG Siraj Kassam Teli commented that the government has devised numerous laws and amendments with a sincere intent to enhance tax collection but we fear that most of these laws and amendments which have enhanced discretionary powers to FBR officials even at lower level would only be used to harass the taxpayers in order to seek personal benefits and gratifications. “The government is serious towards improving the tax collection which we highly appreciate but the recently introduced laws and amendments need some review and scrutiny by independent individuals. These laws should be devised and implemented in such a manner that they don’t pave way for corruption but actually enhance the revenue”, he added. He was of the opinion that in order to achieve the desired results in terms of revenue collection, the government has simultaneously opened many fronts which have terribly disturbed the entire business cycle and it was the basic reason behind why they (the government) have been facing agitations and resistance. “It is requested to compare all the segments where taxes have been imposed verses the revenue expected and decide whether it is worth to take on that particular segment immediately or leave it for a while. We are not asking to leave anybody out of the net but wherever the implementation is not immediately possible it’s better to give some time and let the country move forward, he added. President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda said that Karachi Chamber never supported any strikes and will continue to do so in future as well because strikes were neither in favor of the business community nor in favor of the government therefore, they strongly believe in negotiations which was also suggested by Chairman BMG during the abovementioned meeting with PM Imran Khan. He opined that the government has set an ambitious revenue collection target and we hope that the government could come close to achieving it as the country is in dire need of it. Junaid Makda stated that the government rightly emphasizes on strictly dealing with tax evaders particularly those who have been living lavish lives, frequently travelling abroad, having huge properties and extravagant vehicles while their kids were also studying in foreign universities but during this course of action no injustice be done to any innocent. “Our Prime Minister, State Minister, PM’s Advisor, Chairman FBR and other lawmakers have been claiming of possessing details of all such tax evaders and assuring to take strict action but I would like to suggest that the names of such elements who are the actual culprits must be publicized in the media. It is genuinely because of such elements that the loyal taxpayers have to bear the burden of exorbitant taxes which is a sheer injustice and needs special attention”, he added. While appreciating PM’s remarks pertaining to partnering with the business community in order to resolve issues and ensuring Ease of Doing Business which is the need of the hour, Junaid Makda requested a flexible approach while dealing with loyal taxpayers who hardly receive just 5 percent of facilities as compared to their contribution to the national exchequer. He further pointed out that hundreds of imported containers remain stuck up at the port either due to anomalies or any other issues emerging after the amendments. Although the Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi has assured to look into this matter but the business community would highly appreciate a more rapid approach with permanent solution to this issue in order to save businessmen from suffering serious losses on account of demurrage and detention charges.