Abdul Rasheed Azad
Published Date: Mar 21, 2017
Govt. seeks proposals to help facilitate philanthropy sector: member FBR
The government is open to receive proposals on how the tax regime could facilitate the philanthropy sector further, Dr Muhammad Iqbal, Member Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said. While speaking at the pre-budget seminar titled ‘Federal Budget 2017-18 and Philanthropy Sector,’ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday, Dr Iqbal said that the main focus of the government is to extend state-sponsored health, education and other services to all masses as a vacuum in this regard has provided extremism to creep up in the society previously.
Dr Iqbal said that FBR is already offering a number of incentives to organisations involved in philanthropic work. However, the priority for the government is to invest in public sector services as leaving it just on non-state has its own unwarranted consequences.
"In the name of philanthropy, certain organisations promoted extremism in society in the past," Dr Iqbal said and added that thus a foolproof regulation on part of the government is important for smooth running of the sector, he said. He further said that unfortunately the privileged classes are not paying their share of taxes and thus there is not enough money available to invest in the underprivileged of the society. "Thus, we need to redress structural defects of the system," he said.
Dr Shaharyar Toru of SDPI earlier said that some fundamental aspects of philanthropy sector need to be revisited. He said that it would be critical to analyse the impact of fiscal incentives on philanthropy and how a favourable fiscal environment could be instrumental in development of a nation’s nonprofit sector.
Dr Zafar Qadir, Chairman Social Action Consortium and Taleem Foundation on the occasion said that the avenues for public-private co-operation should be explored to tap the real potential of the philanthropy sector in Pakistan. Executive Director Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy, Shazia Maqsood Amjad presented a detailed outlook of philanthropy sector in Pakistan. She said that according to a research carried out by the PCP, Pakistani nation gives Rs 240 billion to various kinds of charities annually.
Ayesha Khan, Country Director Hashoo Foundation, Pakistan, also shared her views with the audience and said that corporate sector is ready to lend its support and provide its input to the government for removing trust deficit between the government and private sector.
The speakers at the seminar, which was attended by a large number of representatives from all walks of life including research and academic institutes, underpinned the need for improved tax regime and removal of trust deficit between the government and private sector, especially regarding the efforts in philanthropy sector.