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Bilour says proper assessment necessary before implementation
- Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - From Print Edition


PESHAWAR: Welcoming the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) decision of bringing Afghan traders into the tax net, the business community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has asked the government to allow the Afghan traders to pursue their businesses only in partnership with Pakistani counterparts.


Talking to The News, Usman Bashir Bilour, president Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) said that over two million Afghans living in the country were no more refugees in the stricter sense of the term and the law because peace now prevailed in their motherland. “They should be treated like ordinary businessmen and no special status should be afforded to them,” he added.


He said there was very partnership system in place in many countries where local businessmen co-share businesses with the non-local and non-resident traders. Dubai and some other states are one such example where without the sponsorship no non-local could run a business.


He said the FBR’s decision to tax Afghan traders from April 1 was belated but they still would welcome it. Usman Bilour said that bringing 0.5 million Afghan traders unto the tax net would not only help the economy, but also lessen burden on the local taxpayers. However, he did not agree to the time limit set by the FBR for taxing the Afghan traders and said that instead of April 1, 2011 they should be taxed from July 1, 2010.


He said it was the longstanding demand of the SCCI to bring Afghan traders into the tax net, as they are not merely retailers any more. They are in the restaurant, hotel and other lucrative businesses, he added.


“The Afghan traders are pursuing billion of rupees businesses without paying taxes which has affected the revenue collection in the country, besides, putting extra burden on the local businessmen,” the SCCI president said.


He said the government should go for taxing the Afghan traders without wasting any time, but before such an action it should conduct a survey regarding Afghan traders and their businesses that would enable the government to levy an appropriate tax on them.