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Pakistan Taxation: Think Tank Calls for Uniform Tax Rates

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The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), a state-owned think tank, has unveiled an ambitious reform agenda aimed at catalyzing economic progress and prosperity in Pakistan. Titled “ISLAAH: Immediate Reform Agenda — IMF and Beyond,” the proposal advocates for systemic overhauls to address pressing economic challenges and unlock Pakistan’s potential for growth.

Shift from Bureaucratic Permissions to Market Liberalisation:

PIDE recommends a shift from bureaucratic permissions to rule-based market liberalization to spur economic growth. By simplifying regulations, digitizing processes, and prioritizing market openness, Pakistan can attract investment, foster innovation, and reduce the bureaucratic hurdles hindering business growth.

Revenue Potential from Real Estate and Agriculture:

The think tank emphasizes the need to exploit Pakistan’s vast revenue potential from real estate and agriculture sectors. With transparency measures in place, it estimates an annual revenue potential of over Rs300 billion from real estate and gains worth Rs1.7 trillion in the agriculture sector. These reforms could significantly contribute to Pakistan’s economic development and alleviate financial strains.

Unlocking Public Land for Private Investment:

PIDE proposes opening up public land in Islamabad worth Rs2.2 trillion for private investment. By leveraging private sector participation, Pakistan can mobilize resources, stimulate economic activity, and create employment opportunities. This initiative aligns with the government’s goal of promoting private sector-led growth and infrastructure development.

Streamlining Taxation:

To enhance tax efficiency and revenue collection, PIDE calls for streamlining taxation policies. It advocates for uniform tax rates across all sources of income, simplification of tax systems, and harmonization of taxes nationwide. By reducing tax uncertainty and instability, Pakistan can encourage formalization, boost investments, and foster business expansion.

Transition to Advanced Income Tax Mechanisms:

The think tank suggests transitioning from withholding taxes to advance income tax mechanisms to improve tax compliance and administration. Additionally, it recommends expediting the implementation of point-of-sale (POS) systems and transitioning to a value-added tax (VAT) mode with consistent rates to enhance tax efficiency and transparency.

Roadmap for Pakistan:

PIDE’s reform agenda presents a comprehensive roadmap for Pakistan’s economic revitalization and resilience. By embracing market-oriented reforms, enhancing transparency, and modernizing taxation systems, Pakistan can overcome economic challenges, attract investments, and pave the way for sustainable growth and development.

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