Business & tax experts examine Punjab’s Budget 20-21, share future-focused
Leading representatives from the business community, professional bodies and government sat
together at a high-level virtual post-budget seminar themed ‘Economic Impact, Harmonisation
and Future Orientation’ to examine the Punjab’s provincial Budget 2020-21 and identified
economic opportunities and shared forward-thinking recommendations.
The online seminar was organised by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified
Accountants) with representatives from Lahore Tax Bar Association (LTBA), Punjab Revenue
Authority (PRA), Institute of Cost Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMA Pakistan), and
Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI).
Secretary Finance Punjab, Muhammad Abdullah Khan Sumbal, was the Chief Guest at the
event who shared the government’s perspective and answered the concerns shared by the
business community and tax professionals during a one-on-one question and answer session.
The seminar also included a highly interactive, future-focused panel conversation moderated by
the Member of ACCA’s Global Tax Forum, and the Chair ACCA MNP & Tax Committee, Omer
Zaheer Meer FCCA, featuring contributions from following senior Conversation Leaders: Javed
Ahmed, Tax Economist, Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA), Kashif Anwar, Chairman – Standing
Committee on Taxation, Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), Khurram Shahbaz
Butt, President, Lahore Tax Bar Association (LTBA), Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan,
and Zia-Ul-Mustafa, President, ICMA Pakistan
Emphasising on the need for the harmonisation of federal, provincial taxes, ACCA’s head
of Pakistan, Sajjeed Aslam stressed,
‘To make it easy for the services sector to keep creating job opportunities for the country’s youth
and attract foreign direct investment, there’s an urgent need for policy makers to truly
understand the real needs of this sector and provinces need to introduce a mechanism to
facilitate the adjustment of tax refunds and bring harmonisation in tax rates across all
In his address, Muhammad Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Secretary Finance Punjab, shared,
‘Despite the fact that working in the IMF regime remains challenging that requires significant
revenue generation and expenditure management, the Punjab’s budget 2020-21 is business-
friendly and forward-thinking and contains inputs from all major stakeholders. The provincial
government is determined to support the private sector to enable them to create new jobs, and
consistent with Federal government’s efforts, we’re heavily facilitating the construction sector.
Considerable efforts are being made to ensure ease of doing business in Punjab. We’re the first
province to give zero rating to Public Private Partnerships showing our desire to support the
private sector. We’re working towards broadening of sales tax base and actively engaging with
federal and provincial counterparts to ensure harmonisation and cooperation.’
The Finance Secretary also shared that the government feels Human Development (HD) is a
more effective indicator compared to Economic Growth (EG), therefore social development
projects to remain its priority with major investments in education and health.
He also shared his hope that the tax harmonisation issue will be resolved within the first quarter
of the current FY and we can expect reaching some level of consensus between federation and
provinces to devise a workable framework accommodating different views.
Javed Ahmed shared that PRA is moving with pace toward digitisation to facilitate taxpayers
and is committedly working to remove impediments.
The President of LTBA, Khurram Shahbaz questioned the introduction of regressive measures
like attaching credit facilities and encouraged government to actively engage with professionals
to ensure progressive legislations.
Representing the business community, Kashif Anwar shared the difficulties that businesses are
facing and recommended business-friendly initiatives with focus on providing more value to
Attendees appreciated the role of ACCA in super-connecting all the stakeholders and facilitating
an action-oriented conversation to support policy makers to directly engage with the business
community and create a conducive environment for commercial activity and corporate sector
- Ends –
The recording of the seminar can be viewed here: