Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Saturday presented proposals for the Federal Budget 2022-23 at a press conference here. LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir presented the budget proposals while Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Vice President Haris Ateeq also spoke on the occasion. Mian Nauman Kabir said that the private sector is the engine of growth and suggested that proposals should be the part of federal budget 2022-23. He said that in developing countries, the private sector generates 90pc of jobs, funds 60pc of all investments and provides more than 80pc of government revenues. In this regard, feedback from the private sector plays an important role in formulating appropriate policies for the trade, industry and economy. The robust linkage between the government and private sector boosts the economy, creates the friendly environment, generates employment, attracts investment and helps in the growth of SME sector. “All the political parties should sign a charter of economy and follow a single economic policy that should be evolved in consultation with the stakeholders”, the LCCI president added. He said that being premier chamber of the country, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has formed a set of proposals for the federal budget 2022-23. Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan’s tax base is narrow. Out of total population of 220 million only around 3 million people are filing their income tax returns. It is proposed that all the persons having industrial or commercial electricity or gas connections should be brought into the tax net. The LCCI president suggested that to remove uncertainty among businesses and for sustainable growth, there should be consistency in economic policies (both macro-economic and sector specific). He said that SMEs are backbone of the industry. There are up to 5.2 million SMEs in Pakistan with 25pc share in exports and 30pc contribution in GDP. Considering the vital role of SMEs, it is proposed that the turnover threshold for definition of SMEs may be enhanced to eight hundred million rupees net of sales tax, FED and discounts. He said that customs tariff rationalization is need of the hour. To protect and promote local industry and for import substitution custom duties on import of raw material may be reduced to minimum or zero percent. Similarly, import of finished products and luxury goods may be discouraged through levy or enhancing the regulatory duties. He said that Chambers of Commerce & Industry fulfill all the criteria prescribed for a charitable organization and are providing services to the business community for promotion of trade and industry. This position has also been accepted by ATIR. FBR is requested that Chambers of Commerce & Industry, be included in Sub clause (1) of Clause 66 of part I of Second Schedule to Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 for Exemption of Total Income. Mian Nauman Kabir added that the energy mix should be made more sustainable and cost-effective by reducing the reliance on imported oil for electricity production and increasing the share of hydro power and renewable energy (Wind, Solar, Biomass etc). He said that tax laws, procedures and returns should be simplified. One page return form should be introduced. There should be a single audit for sales tax, income tax and withholding tax. The frequency of this single audit should be reduced to once in 3 years. LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that to promote conducive business environment rate of sales tax should be brought down. He suggested that minimum tax should be reduced. Income tax deducted under various provisions of law may be made adjustable tax instead of treating the same as minimum tax. LCCI Vice President Haris Ateeq suggested that for the growth of industry and enhancing exports, tax collected on imports of raw material u/s 148 of income Tax Ordinance 2001 by manufacturers cum exporters should be 0pc. To boost the exports of leather sector raw hides and skins should be included in the definition of Agriculture Income. Income tax refunds should be processed speedily through automated system on the pattern of sales tax refunds. LCCI office-bearers suggested that the condition of disclosing CNIC for sale to unregistered persons should be abolished in the larger interest of small businesses in the country in these challenging economic times.