Chairman Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) Mian Nauman Kabir has said the real answer to country’s problems lies in the structural reforms, as there are a number of inefficiencies in tax collection, which must be removed. In a joint statement with vice chairman Javed Siddiqi on Friday, the PIAF Chairman observed that the tax compliance should be improved and tax base should be enhanced, which cannot be achieved with a single policy change, but through a systemic approach. Mian Nauman Kabir said that businesses are already in a complicated state-of-affairs, while anti-business actions against business community will not only add to the miseries of the business community but also promote trust deficit between the government and the business community. He said that in the past instead of focusing on controlling under-invoicing, curbing smuggling and expanding the tax net, the FBR seems to be inclined to pressurize registered taxpayers, who are already suffering due to a high rate of sales tax, income tax, and custom duties by creating fictitious cases for recovery of outstanding dues to meet revenue target. The PIAF Chairman also endorsed the government plan of FBR reforms to expand the tax base under a fully-automated system, which should need to be improved as it has still many flaws. He said that making the FBR stronger through improved tax collection will be immensely beneficial for the country. He called for building a structure in the country, which is in accordance with the requirements of time, as it is easy to weaken institutions but it takes a long time to rebuild them. Whatever appointments government makes to the heads of the institutions should be based on transparency and merit, he said. Mian Nauman Kabir urged the Federal Board of Revenue to immediately stop issuing notices to businessmen, as it is not only creating undue harassment among them but also giving a bad name to the government. He said that the economy has just come out of the dark shadows cast by the Covid-19 pandemic and is still facing the aftershocks of the lockdown period. The businessmen are doing their best to makeup the losses incurred during that period, the PIAF Chairman said, adding that the PIAF feels that issuance of notices to businesses at this juncture will put a halt to the process of economic recovery. Mian Nauman Kabir said that only direct taxes can improve tax collection, as the existing tax system is heavily skewed toward indirect taxation. PIAF vice chairman Javed Siddiqi said the registered businesses are required to comply with various departments involving a lot of financial and time resources, whereas unregistered businesses are free from all such hassles, he maintained. He also emphasized that concentrating on import substitution is imperative to narrow import bills and certain imported products such as oil are of a fixed nature, therefore, the government needs to enhance focus on import substitution industries, as chemicals, agriculture and steel are potential industries. Javed Siddiqi said that undertaking structural reforms require political will. He said that enacting structural reforms, such as improvements in tax collection system, bureaucracy and ease of doing business requires major political will and strict implementation of policies, he added.