FPCCI President Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo has termed the new ordinance a conspiracy against the government and conflicting with finance minister’s vision of due consultation with all stakeholders before announcing any taxation measures. He also expressed his fears that this may lead to agitation for being grossly unfair. Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo condemned human rights defying sweeping powers to FBR and enabling it to disconnect mobile phones, electricity, and gas connections of the non-filers of income tax returns. It also empowers NAB to open income tax cases as old as 20 years through accessing tax records through NADRA, he added. The new amendment is called “The Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2021.” Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo added that it was FPCCI’s proposal to disconnect the connections of commercial and industrial non-filers; but, this ordinance does not take due and fair procedure of separation of executive and adjudication into account. The ordinance vaguely mentions under-assessed income tax filers and provides blanket discretionary powers to the income tax officers, he added. Pointing out the challenges posed by mandatory online and digital payments, FPCCI Chief said that our economy runs on the sales made on post-dated cheques and credit is usually for two months and the businesses cannot comply with this condition in the new ordinance. FPCCI chief maintained that the ordinance contains budgetary measures and these cannot be taken without due consultation with stakeholders and the ordinance has already come into force from September 15, 2021. FPCCI considers this anti-business and unfair. Khawaja Shahzeb Akram, SVP FPCCI, pointed out the conspicuous excesses being permitted to FBR under the amendment; and, observed that it will only open the door to even more corruption in the taxation system and result in an overwhelming increase in harassment of the business community. FPCCI’s deputy chief added that in the rest of the world, the governments are giving tax breaks and incentives to SMEs to ward off the losses caused by COVID-19; and, in Pakistan, the government is trying to reinvent the wheel and strangulate the business, industry and trade community of Pakistan. Haji Ghulam Ali, a former President of FPCCI and a former Senator as well, expressed shock over the amendment and its potential to be misused against opponents. He said that NAB and FBR have already created enough fearful and discouraging environment that adding further harsh pieces of legislation will destroy the economy irreversibly. He added that reopening the dead income tax cases of up to 20 years will not bring any more revenue to the government’s kitty. FPCCI categorically demanded to hold the ordinance in abeyance; until and unless all stakeholders are consulted. FPCCI remains committed and available for dialogue and discussion for the reforms in the taxation system and broadening of the tax base. FPCCI reiterates that the taxation system can only be effectively reformed if all the stakeholders are taken on board.