ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan suggested introduction of structural reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to enhance its capacity for achieving the target of the country’s revenue. “Automation through modern information technology tools, gradual reduction of human intervention in the system and professional staff is essential for the institutional development of FBR. Introducing automation in FBR will not only increase the annual revenue collection but will also get rid of issues like harassment of the business community,” he said in an exclusive panel interview. The ICCI president said that the government can achieve objectives of the current economic agenda through efficiency, transparency, accountability and coordination with the business community. He said that FBR would be necessarily to enhance efficiency of the tax system for promoting cordial relations between the tax collection institutions and business community, which would also improve the ease of doing business ranking and overall business environment. He said that the business community was ready to contribute in achieving Rs 8000 billion tax revenue for the country, provided the government facilitates the community in achieving this objective. He stressed the need to enhance the coordination between the government and the chambers of commerce to discuss proposal for upcoming budget 2021-22 to materialize the inputs of the business community in the national budget. FIXED TAX RATE He also suggested the simplification of the tax collection process for filers, saying tax form should be simplified before June 30, 2021 and orientation should be provided to the general public, traders and the exporters. He recommended introducing a fixed tax rate of two percent to encourage new tax filers, which is to be encouraged through incentives. He said that the old taxpayers should also be respected and facilitated by adding tax payers’ counters at all state-owned departments across the country. He offered to reduce the tax on all potential sectors, including small and large scaled manufacturing and reduction of import and custom duties on products, especially products related to plant, machinery and all products related to construction, real estate, tourism, medical, agriculture or any industry related sector. Appreciating the current tariff policy of the government, he said that growth in potential industries, especially value addition through the transfer of technology was dependent on the duties structure. He said that the policy rate should be reviewed and settled below six percent to provide better business opportunities for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). To a question on the export potential of Pakistan, Sardar Yasir Ilyas said that Pakistan has an overall exports potential of $150 billion by trade in various sectors, including agriculture, tourism, textiles products and information technology for achieving agenda of economic development and prosperity. He said that Pakistan has huge potential in agro-industry “We can develop agro-industry to achieve overall potential of $100 billion export through the value addition in this sector,” he said, adding that the country requires complete transformation of agriculture to achieve target of $100 billion exports through modernization of the sector by using innovative machinery and tools adopted by the modern agro-based economies. REGIONAL ECONOMIES Overall, Pakistan needed industrial competitiveness to compete with other regional and global players, he said. ”We need to enhance the quality of local products and provide competitive energy rates to the local industry.” To another question on regional trade and economic integration with regional countries, he said that Pakistan has missed overall Rs 70 billion trade potential with regional economies like Afghanistan, India and Central Asian States. He appreciated transshipment policy of the government for enhancing the transit trade with the regional countries including Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian States. He said that trade and economic integration with regional countries were the key factors for connectivity and stronger ties with regional countries, which also boosted the region as a global trading player like the European Union. LOOK AFRICA CAMPAIGN To a question about Pakistan’s relations with untapped region of Africa and the government’s ‘look Africa campaign’, he said Africa was a big potential market for local products and textiles, pharmaceutical and IT sectors to get huge opportunity to enhance the trade connection with the African countries including Kenya. He said that Pakistan has huge potential of increasing trade volume with African countries in textile products worth $15 billion and in pharm sector worth nine billion dollars and also more potential in IT products. He said that transfer of industries from China will play key role for industrial development in Pakistan and briefed that ICCI had plan and proposed the government to develop industrial state in the capital city to provide conducive business environment to the local and foreign investors to contribute in country’s industrial growth. For the construction of a new proposed industrial estate, the local business community would contribute five billion rupees to initiate these mega projects in Islamabad. He said that newly-proposed industrial zones would be evolved at the same pattern of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “We would offer equal investment opportunities to the local and foreign investors in the zone.” The ICCI president said that this industrial zone proposed by ICCI would be fully-equipped with all modern facilities, including one window operation (one-stop shop) for achieving the objective of ease of doing business in the country. He said that ICCI was fully committed to the struggle for business rights of the local business community. “We are engaged with the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to resolve the issues of local businesses,” he said. He also said that ICCI has planned to organize the two international exhibitions in the real estate and also go for a defence expo, which is the biggest show in the local business history.