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ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani Tuesday sought a report from Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and ministries of Finance and Law on “violation of tax exemption that was extended to traders and investors of erstwhile FATA through a legislative process in the Parliament.”

Sanjrani sought this report following a meeting with a 40-member delegation of investors and industrialists from erstwhile FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) who called on him at the Parliament House.

The delegates ‘complained’ to Sanjrani against the ‘behaviour’ of FBR.

“The FBR does not facilitate nor give concessions as per law,” a press release from Senate Secretariat quoted the delegates as saying in the meeting with chairman Senate.

“The traders’ delegation told the chairman Senate that after the integration of FATA in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2018, tax exemption was given for five years, but, on the contrary, the steel and ghee industry was deprived of this exemption in the Finance Bill 2019. The most ironic is that all kinds of bank accounts of the business class associated with these industries have been frozen”, the delegation apprised the chairman, according to Senate Secretariat.

“Due to the unwanted behaviour of the authority concerned, more than 40 steel units and some units of ghee industries were shut down, left thousands unemployed,” it said.

Although, Sanjrani, being Chairman Senate, has no governmental or Executive powers, yet he “assured the delegation that their rights would never be compromised in any way and tax exemption for five years will be ensured accordingly and in line with law.”

The chairman Senate then sought a report from the FBR and ministries of Finance and Law on the matter.

“The chairman Senate ensured the delegation that after two days, ministers and representatives of relevant ministries and institutions will be called for sorting out an appropriate solution of the prevailing issue— Prime minister has also directed the ministries concerned to provide concessions for the promotion of trade activities and development of industries in the ex-FATA to develop these areas at par with other parts of the country,” the Senate Secretariat said.

“However, the law regarding the industries of the erstwhile-FATA is being violated which will not be allowed in any case,” the chairman assured.

Sanjrani asked the delegation to “remain optimistic about the resolution of the matter and focus on promoting business activities and creating jobs in erstwhile FATA. The business community of ex-FATA should also be fully prepared for the post-concession situation so that they could compete with the industries established in other parts of the country.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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