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KARACHI: In response to Karachi Chamber’s concerns over amendment in tax laws through Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2021, Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue Shaukat Tarin has assured that the Ministry for Finance would review the matter and look into the possibility of re-examining the term ‘non-filer’ and ‘under-filer’ in consultation with stakeholders, whereas in the meantime no one will suffer as Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will not take action directly.

Speaking during meeting with a delegation of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), he said the FBR will share relevant data with Chambers and also upload the same on its website. The government intends to take help of artificial intelligence, and assessment will be done through third party while appropriate time of 90 days will be provided to non-taxpayers for settlement, the Finance Minister added.

Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, Advisor to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue Ashfaq Ahmed and other senior officials of Finance Ministry and FBR also accompanied Shaukat Tarin at the meeting while KCCI’s delegation, which was led by Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala, and comprised of Vice Chairmen BMG Haroon Farooki and Jawed Bilwani, General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil and President KCCI Muhammad Idrees.

Referring to Chairman BMG’s remarks about discrimination with export-oriented industries of Sindh with regards to supply, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar agreed to supply RLNG at $6.5 per MMBTU to these industries of Sindh. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance will sanction a subsidy and relevant notification will also be issued.

Hammad Azhar said that the Ministry of Energy will also convene a meeting to discuss the KCCI’s concerns over gas crises in the winter season so that they could explore ways and means for a smooth supply of gas to industries/ consumers of SSGCL in the winter. MD SSGC will also be advised to hold a meeting with the KCCI in this regard, he added.

On the occasion, PM’s Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood said that they were considering waiver of duty on import of cotton yarn. It was also concurred that KCCI’s proposal to reduce concessional rate of 0.1 percent to 0.01 percent on traders/ brokers of Cotton Yarn under SRO.333 (I) 2001 dated 02.05.2011 has been taken into consideration in the larger interest of value-added exports.

Razak Dawood, while appreciating KCCI’s idea of giving Industry status to “Warehousing/ cold Chain/ cold storage”, said that the government will look into this matter.

He reiterated that Drawback on Local Taxes & Levies (DLTL) will either continue with the same rate or the government may increase the rate of drawback whereas the old income tax claims will also be refunded at the earliest.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman FBR Dr Ashfaq Ahmed assured that the government will review the matter pertaining to CNIC requirement and 3 percent tax which the KCCI believes should not be made mandatory but optional as 3 percent tax on sales to unregistered persons was already being collected; hence, there was no need for demanding the CNIC. He also promised to hold a meeting within next week via zoom facility to discuss the progress on various taxation issues.

In response to problems being faced because of the condition to put invoice and packing list inside imported container or consignment, the lawmakers assured to review KCCI’s proposal that bank should only receive document when invoice and packing list is attached with the documents and consignment should be released with the provision of invoice and packing list from Customs.

It was also assured that the government will also look into KCCI’s proposals to amend provision under S. No.4 in which a new section 114B has been inserted in Income Tax Ordinance 2001, providing discretionary powers to FBR to issue General Orders to disable mobile phones/SIMS, disconnect electricity and gas connection etc., to enforce filing of returns by the persons not appearing on the ATL. The Karachi Chamber, in this regard, has proposed the provision may be amended to substitute the words “Persons not appearing on ATL” with “Unregistered Persons” to achieve the purpose of broadening of tax-base.

The KCCI delegation thanked the Finance Minister for fulfilling his commitment of holding today’s meeting in Islamabad along with Hammad Azhar, Razak Dawood and others, and expressed confidence over the stewardship and seriousness being exhibited by Shaukat Tarin towards resolving the problems being suffered by the business and industrial community.

The Finance Minister, in his concluding remarks, said that he will keep on visiting the KCCI after every three months while Chairman FBR also be visiting the Chamber on a monthly basis.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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