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KARACHI: Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Dr Asif Mahmood Jah, during his visit to Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PHMA), PHMA House, Karachi, stated that “the office of the FTO is fully committed to fairly and independently correct the lacunas and flaws in taxation system, particularly the maladministration. Currently, FTO is working to create FTO Portal on the pattern of Prime Minister’s Portal in order to swiftly and promptly address the complaints.”

He said FBR officials should work on an open door policy to resolve the issues of taxpayers then and there, adding that FTO shall take its own motion with regards to undue repeated notices for audit and uncalled-for demands of documents from exporters which are available in the FBR system/portal.

He said “exporters are serving the nation through exports and earning valuable foreign exchange. Economic activity and exports are crucial and harmony between the taxpayers and collector is imperative in the interest of the country. Resolving the tax matters of exporters should be among the priorities of FBR.

“FTO’s vision is to achieve a taxpayer’s friendly, corruption free, efficient and merit based tax administration and its mandate focuses on to investigate, diagnose, redress and rectify maladministration of tax functionaries and issue necessary recommendations. Aggrieved taxpayers may file their complaints in any such maladministration like cases of discrimination, delay in discharging duties & responsibility, injustice, non-transparency, non-payment of refunds, rebate’s within time, coercive method of recovery in case where default in payment of duty & tax is not apparent from the record and issuing repeated notices, unnecessary attendance or prolonged hearings while deciding the cases etc.

“The FTO as per the law may exercise its jurisdiction and authority for complaints by aggrieved persons, Reference by President, Parliament, Supreme Court and High Court, Own motion, Inspections and Research Studies in the larger interest of the country.”

As suggested by PHMA, the FTO appreciated and confirmed to introduce and establish help desk to facilitate taxpayers/businesspersons in FBR, Customs and RTOs, dry ports and Pak-Afghan borders.

He was accompanied by Manzoor Hussain Qureshi, Advisor (Incharge) Income Tax/Sales Tax, Manzoor Hussain Memon Advisor (Customs), Badruddin Ahmad Qureshi, Advisor and Abid Mehmood Director Admin.

Addressing the value-added textile exporters, FTO took pride in stating that the FTO offices across Pakistan were holding the professional advisers having high integrity and fame with remarkable career of service to the country.

He informed that being the FTO, he would like to work to broaden the scope of work of FTO Office, bring more reforms and necessary legislation shall be proposed in this regard.

The FTO gave patient hearing to the problems and issues apprised by M Jawed Bilwani, Chief Coordinator & former chairman (PHMA), Abdul Rehman, Chairman, Abdul Kadir Bilwani, Senior Vice Chairman, Faisal Arshad Sheikh, Vice Chairman, Junaid Makda, Aslam Karsaz, Abdul Jabbar Gajiani, Bashir Ghaffar, Khizer Mehboob, Ali Murtaza Panju, Salman Ishaq, Ilyas Gigi and other leading textile exporters.

Jawed Bilwani in this welcome address to the FTO conveyed gratitude for his visit to PHMA. Exchanging views, he stated “exports are lifeline to the economy and enhancement of exports is inevitable. Due to unwise policies of the successive governments the national exports have not been increased upto its optimum potential. The exporters are working day and night throughout the year in order to enhance its export production despite of the presence of unprecedented challenges and problems. Core issue is the availability of liquidity which becomes a huge problem when it is stuck up with the FBR.”

He recalled that with the imposition of sales tax huge liquidity was stuck up while the government took more than 16 months to improve its FASTER system to ensure speedy refunds, however, during this period small exporter closed down their export units due to liquidity crunch as their liquidity was stuck over 16 months.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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