The Pakistan Business Council (PBC) has come out with a statement strongly supporting the demand of the Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh that provinces effectively tax agricultural income, real estate and wealth. Dr. Sheikh is reported to have made this statement at the recently concluded first review meeting of the 7th NFC award in which the provincial finance ministers along with their secretaries participated.
The PBC in its Press Release has stated that it is of the opinion that the governments, including the provincial governments, have to increase their tax base as opposed to imposing additional taxes such as the proposed flood surcharge on existing tax payers. Further, the PBC feels that the imposition of the RGST, which is one suggested measure for documenting the economy, would find greater acceptance if all incomes including those that the Finance Minister has indicated are brought into the tax net.
As a first step the PBC has echoed the views of the Finance Minister and called on the provinces to start collecting tax on agricultural income under the Land Revenue Act 2000. It has expressed it disappointment that none of the provinces have implemented this law in the last 11 years.
The PBC is a non-political, Not-for-Profit Section 42 company which is funded by the largest business Corporates / business houses of the Country. It has recently launched an initiative to create an across the board national consensus on an Agenda for Economic Reform. Reduction of the fiscal deficit is one the major pillars of the reform agenda.