SDPI organizes pre-budget seminar

ISLAMABAD, Mar 20(APP): The government was open to receive suggestions on how the tax regime could facilitate the philanthropy sector further. However, its focus would be to extend state provided health, education and other services to all the population as a vacuum in this regard has provided extremism to creep up in the society previously. Dr. Muhmmad Iqbal, Member Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said this while speaking at the pre-budget seminar on ‘Federal Budget 2017-18 and Philanthropy Sector’, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here Monday.
The speakers at the seminar 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.
Dr. Iqbal said that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was already offering a number of incentives to organizations involved in philanthropic work. However, the priority for the government was to invest in public sector services as leaving it just on non-state have its own unwarranted consequences.
“In the name of philanthropy,  certain organizations promoted extremism in society in the past”, Dr. Iqbal said and added that thus a foolproof regulation on the part of government was important for the smooth running of the sector, he said.  He added further that unfortunately the privileged classes were not paying their share of taxes and thus there was not enough money available to invest on underprivileged of the society. Thus, he said, we need to redress structural defects of the system.
Dr. Shaharyar Toru of SDPI earlier said that some fundamental aspects of philanthropy sector needed to be revisited.  He said that it would be critical to analyze the impact do fiscal incentives on philanthropy and how a favorable 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 cooperation should be explored to tap the real potential of the philanthropy sector in Pakistan.
Shazia Maqsood Amjad, Executive Director, Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy, presented a detailed outlook of philanthropy sector in Pakistan. She said that according to research carried out by the PCP, Pakistani nation give Rs. 240 billion to various kinds of charities annually. Ayesha Khan, Country Director, Hashoo Foundation, Pakistan also shared here views with the audience and said that corporate sector was ready to lend its support and provide its input to government for removing trust deficit between the government and private sector.
The seminar was attended by large number of representatives from walks of life including research and academic institutes,