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LAHORE: The FBR’s Inland Revenue (Operations) Member Dr Muhammad Ashfaq has said that the newly-upgraded ‘Fully Automated Sales Tax e-Refund (FASTER) Plus system’ is so expeditious and transparent that now there is no need of sales tax zero rating regime for the exporters.

While addressing a meeting of Sialkot exporters, organized by the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association, he said that the FBR is paying refunds’ claims of Rs200-250 billion to the exporters every month, as each and every exporter is enlisted in the FASTER Plus system, which is performing very well and involving no human hand.

According to the spokesperson of the PRGMEA he was accompanied by Chief Commissioner Inland Revenue RTO Dr Tariq Mahmood. The meeting was attended by the prominent businessmen and SME representatives of industrial hub of Sialkot, besides participation of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Qaisar Iqbal Baryar and all exporters’ associations chairmen and representatives, including PRGMEA, Sports Goods Manufacturers Association, Surgical Instruments Manufacturing Association, Gloves Manufacturers Association, Leather Garments Manufacturers Association and Hosiery Manufacturers Association.

Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq said the new system has been providing an opportunity to the exporters to review and resubmit their claims after removing shortcomings. He said that Sialkot is the hub of SME sector which extremely needs the working capital for its smooth operations.

Dr. Ashfaq, during his address, was very much in the favour of industrialization and growth of exports for the maximum employment generation in line with the vision of PM Imran Khan.

“I am your focal person and available 24/7 for the industry. My doors are always open for you,” he said and added that the taxpayer doesn’t need to go to RTO on any tax notice rather the FBR officials will visit them to get the reply.”

The FBR Member reiterated the resolve of the government for expeditious payment of tax refunds and removal of all irritants in this regard.

PRGMEA Central Chairman Sohail A. Sheikh while addressing the meeting appreciated the member for speedy sales tax refunds claims through FASTER Plus system

He said that in the beginning, due to some technical glitches in system, exporters faced problems like many of the cases stuck up at pre-processing stage, missing amount of refunds, no intimation about the status of refund and delays in processing of refunds but now under the new faster plus system things are running smoothly.

PRGMEA Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar observed that FBR’s Inland Revenue Member and Sialkot RTO Chief Commissioner are easily available and accessible and we appreciate this friendly approach of them. However, he said that withdrawal of SRO 1125 has created adverse impact on exporters as the whole cash flow is stuck up for at least three months’ period till the time of shipment, calling for reviving Zero-rated regime.

Sohail A Sheikh applauded the government’s incentives and support to the apparel exporters, who succeeded in enhancing textile exports by 7.79% during July-Dec despite coronavirus related restrictions. He also pointed out that in time decision of the government to open the industrial sector played a major role in stabilizing the economy in addition to keeping the jobs intact of the millions of workers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021