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FAISALABAD: Payment of Rs 200 billion refund during last five months played an instrumental role in averting the unemployment crisis and resolving the most critical issue of liquidity crunch, said Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Member Operation Inland Revenue FBR.

He was addressing a meeting in the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) which was also attended by the business leaders of local trade bodies while a delegation from Sargodha Chamber of Commerce & Industry also participated in it. He said that this strategy of clearing refund claims proved successful and as a result of it, our exporters are getting maximum orders while their units are also working in 2-3 shifts.

About the Amnesty Scheme, he said that some members had deposited their required amount but could not submit declaration forms in time reportedly due to choking of the FBR portal. He said that they must be allowed to file their declaration and he will ensure implementation on this decision.

Commenting on the problems of wholesalers he said that though their issues relate to the policy matter, even then he will try to resolve the same expeditiously.

He further said that the zero rating facility was withdrawn from 1st of July and hence there is no need to get a certificate for zero rating facility. He said that the Government fixes the electricity tariff but the responsibility to recover tax and duties on it has been entrusted to the FBR.

He termed the refund system of FBR as most transparent and told that the movement of refund claims could be checked online at any time. However, he admitted that the discrepancies prevalent in FBR are the same as prevailing in our social life. Responding to a question about alleged discrimination in payment of refund claims to the FASTER and NON-FASTER claimants, he told that during last month refund claims to the tune of Rs.1.6 Billion were paid while Rs.1.5 Billion have so far been paid to the NON-FASTER claimants. He termed tax as a by-product of businesses and hence the Government is making serious efforts to encourage businesses by resolving their Government related problems.

He further said that being a custodian of Government exchequer, they would not allow any body to misappropriate government funding. "We are launching very soon a post refund Audit", he told and added that in this connection, the help of FIA and other Government agencies would also be sought.

He acknowledged the importance of the SME sector and said that they should send their viable proposals along with Poultry, Flour, Paper Mills and Sugar Dealers so that the same could be discussed and resolved as early as possible.

About the shifting of large taxpayer unit to Multan, he said that in Faisalabad, there are only 12 while in Multan there are 400 large taxpayer units. Responding to a question, he said that Pakistan is under the IMF program and hence there are bleak chances of reduction in corporate tax. However, we will try to bring it down to 25-26%. Regarding local nature problems, he said that the concerned persons should have a meeting with the local Chief Commissioner immediately so that he could forward their problems and suggestions to FBR.

Earlier President Engr. Hafiz Ihtasham Javed briefly presented the history of FCCI and told that it has 7 thousand members within its fold. "It is also trying to resolve the problems of the entire population of this region with a specific focus on its members", he added. He further said that this city is contributing 40% towards the total export of Pakistan. Regarding the Corona setback, he said that it had badly affected our industrial and commercial sectors. He admitted that the refund system has improved but the local processing industry is still deprived of it. Commenting on the problems of sugar dealers, he said that their profit is negligible but their turnover is very huge. Hence, their problems must be reviewed into its true perspective. Regarding the attitude of tax collectors, he said that people hesitate to become part of the tax net only due to their undue harassment.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020