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SROs great source of discrimination, tax fraud:PEW

Dr Murtaza MughalLahore: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said SRO culture has remained one of the biggest hurdles in ensuring national development by widening the tax net.

SROs are the foremost source of corruption, discrimination, budget subversion and national disgrace, it said.

FBR has become a factory producing SROs (Statutory Regulatory Orders) to favour influential which undermines capability of the government to spend on welfare and development, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Pakistan will never be able to break the begging bowl until the SRO culture is totally eliminated, he added.
He said that the infamous instrument called SRO has frequently been employed to provide exemptions worth billions to politically connected business tycoons while it puts unnecessary burden on taxpayers which amounts to punishing them for honesty.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the tax authorities have been using powers of the Parliament by issuing SROs while the politicians have seldom challenged the violation.

The SRO culture has kept Pakistan’s tax- to-GDP ratio one of the lowest in the world putting brakes on positive initiatives, he said.

Taxation system has developed serious flaws due to special focus of the authorities on issuing SRO with no end in sight, he observed.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said issuance of 4500 SROs and tax exemption to the tune of Rs 650 billion is tip of the iceberg. Those benefitted from this culture should be taken to the task, he added.Matters relating to tax exemptions, change in duties etc. should be debated by lawmakers who are not beneficiaries of unjust tax breaks and exemptions, he said.An amendment in the law disallowing FBR to issue SROs can increase tax collection to boost shabby economy.
He asked to independent think-tanks and superior courts to review in detail the negative impact of misuse SROs which is hurting the society in general and specifically hitting poor.

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