The prime minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, has commissioned an investigation into how a fixed sales tax imposed on merchants doubled at the point of imposition and suspended tax collection through power bills.
The premier also requested that a new system be developed to collect the sales tax and gave the competent ministers instructions to involve the business sector in this process while presiding over a meeting on the subject on Saturday in Lahore.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman, pertinent federal secretaries, and other top officials attended the meeting together with Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik, and Minister of Finance.Prior to making any decisions regarding the collection of tax from shops through utility bills, the premier instructed the attendees to engage representatives of traders.
Trading and wholesale, which account for almost 19 percent of GDP, only provide a meagre Rs6 billion in taxes to the national coffers, according to FBR figures. Only 5,000 of the country’s 2.3 million businessmen and store owners file tax forms.