In a recent meeting with the business community at the Corps Commander’s Headquarters in Lahore, Chief of the Army Staff, General Asim Munir, unveiled plans to bring money exchanges under the tax net. This significant move comes as the Pakistani rupee faces a considerable decline against the US dollar.
General Munir assured business leaders of increased transparency in dollar exchange and interbank rates. The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) praised this commitment to financial integrity.
During the meeting, discussions centered on the economic challenges confronting Pakistan, with Interim Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi also in attendance. General Munir emphasized the Special Investment Facilitation Council’s (SIFC) role in attracting substantial investments, potentially up to $100 billion, from countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait.
To enhance economic decision-making, task forces dedicated to various sectors and economic matters will be established. The LCCI, represented by its president, Kashif Anwar, recommended active engagement with chambers to incorporate diverse perspectives into these task forces.
Addressing public concerns, Anwar proposed reducing income and sales tax rates on electricity bills, advocating for a pragmatic approach to fuel adjustment charges. He also stressed the need for greater control over US dollar rates in both interbank and open markets, aiming to align them with the State Bank’s rates to encourage remittances through official channels.
Moreover, Anwar called for sustained dialogue between the business community and relevant authorities, expressing concerns over the lack of responsiveness to business sector suggestions.
In a bid to formalize the gray economy, which accounts for a significant portion of Pakistan’s economy, Anwar recommended incentivizing its transition into the formal, white economy. He believes this approach will expand the tax base and contribute to the nation’s economic growth.
This collaborative effort between the business community and the military leadership demonstrates a shared commitment to addressing economic challenges and fostering prosperity in Pakistan.