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Business & Finance

Jazz CEO terms FBR actions as ‘Coercive and Unfortunate’

  • The CEO was of the view that seizing an office may be an appropriate response for criminals and extortionists, but not for a company that has served Pakistan's core economy for over two and a half decades, having seen several political cycles.
Published November 2, 2020

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jazz, Pakistan’s telecom operator Aamir Hafeez Ibrahim has termed the recent actions by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as ‘coercive and unfortunate.’

“We find this choice of action coercive and unfortunate. It distorts the truth and shatters investor confidence. This has to do only with an adverse order passed by the appellate tribunal and is not related to customers - withholding tax, GST,” said CEO Jazz in a series of tweets.

The CEO was of the view that seizing an office may be an appropriate response for criminals and extortionists, but not for a company that has served Pakistan's core economy for over two and a half decades, having seen several political cycles.

The statement comes after the FBR on Wednesday, sealed the office after stating in an order that the Income Tax amount of Rs 25,393,653,480 is outstanding against the defaulter (Jazz) while the defaulter is refraining itself “deliberately, dishonestly and without lawful excuse to discharge tax liability and thus causing huge loss to the national exchequer.”

The order further stated that the head office of Jazz in Islamabad will remain sealed till the payment of outstanding dues in full or withdrawal of this order.

On the other hand, Jazz CEO said that the company since 1994, has invested USD 9.5 billion in Pakistan. “With Rs 251 billion taxes paid in the last six years by Jazz, including Rs 47 billion as corporate tax, there seems to be little appreciation of how our law-abiding stance is impacted negatively by this action,” he said.

Hafeez then highlighted that that the company’s room for growth benefits the government, related industries, and the ordinary person, yet policy regimes block business growth and maintain unpredictability.

“Pakistan ranks lowest in terms of Internet readiness in South Asia. As someone who works hard to call investors to Pakistan, I find the regulatory environment standing at the opposite end of our national ambitions,” he said.

Aamir stated that the most challenging part of the last few days is the disappointment of our staff. “Many professionals, from engineers to designers, put in endless hard work into our digital products and services. The 11,000 people who have been part of our workforce care for reputation,” he said.

The CEO however, thanked several private sector CEOs including officials from the government for showing their support.

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