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ISLAMABAD: The next hearing on M/s SICPA versus the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) case on the implementation of the Track and Trace system will be held on April 13th at the Sindh High Court (SHC).

It is learnt that the hearing in the case (Suit 583/21 SICPA vs Federation of Pakistan) was not held on Monday owing to a long list of cases.

The SHC has already issued a stay order on March 12, 2021, on a suit filed by the SICPA - one of the aggrieved bidders.

The SHC had restrained the tax authorities of the FBR from implementing the track and trace system for tobacco products, cement, sugar, and fertiliser.

Earlier, according to a single-judge interim order, “Till the next date of hearing, defendants are restrained from taking any step towards implementing or processing with the contract subject matter of this suit and license awarded to the defendant No 5 under the IFL (instruction for license) for providing track and trace system.”

It is worth mentioning, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has already cancelled the hearing of a case scheduled to be held on April 7th against the selection of the successful company for the implementation of track and trace system for tobacco products, cement, sugar, and fertiliser.

The case was fixed for hearing on April 7th, which was cancelled due to the Covid situation in the federal capital.

The IHC had issued notices to the FBR and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) to submit their comments for selection of the successful company.

So far, three aggrieved bidders have approached Sindh and the Islamabad High Courts after dismissal of their applications under Rule 48 of the Public Procurement Rules 2004 by Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) of the FBR on the selection of M/s AJCL (Pvt) Limited for the implementation of the track and trace system.

Addressing a meeting of the federal cabinet last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that the FBR’s track and trace system was crucial for curbing tax evasion in the country.

“The board had assured the government that the new system would be in place by June 1st but now we have been told that the Sindh High Court (SHC) has issued a stay order.”

“Until this system is in place, we cannot stop tax evasion,” he said, directing the law minister to inform the SHC about the situation to get the stay order vacated.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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