Wafaqi Mohtasib



SIALKOT, Oct 05 (APP): – Federal Tax Ombudsman Abdul Rauf Chaudhary has said that all out sincere efforts were also being made to ensure the early implementation of the decisions made by the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), saying that FTO effectively had been playing a pivotal role in resolving the exporters’ tax-related issues amicably.


He stated this while addressing an important meeting of the Sialkot exporters held at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here today. Acting SCCI President Adnan Sarwar Sethi presided over the meeting.


FTO’s senior advisors Abdul Khaliq, Muneer Qureshi, Muhammad Sadique, Umer Farooq, Central Chairman Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Ejaz A. Khokhar, Sialkot International Airport Limited (SIAL) Malik Muhammad Ashraf, Chief Commissioner Inland Revenue Sialkot Syed Imran Raza Kazmi, President Sialkot Tax Bar Association (TBA) Shakeel Ahmed Khan and senior customs officials were also present on this occasion.


He added that the FTO was receiving as many as 1500 complaints annually besides making hectic efforts to ensure the decisions on these complaints with in a stipulated period of 60 days.


Federal Tax Ombudsman Abdul Rauf Chaudhary has stressed the need of further betterment in tax payment and tax collection systems for providing maximum relief to the tax payers and the exporters, saying that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should remove hurdles from the smooth way of promotion of national exports by reducing the prolonged pendency of the customs, income tax and sales tax refunds claims, in this regard.


Abdul Rauf Chaudhary added that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has recently released special funds of Rs. 25 billion to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) due to which the FBR should ensure the early payment of the duty drawback,  income tax and sales tax refunds claims for ensuring the smooth flow of cash in the industry, saying that the FBR should ensue the maximum facilities to the tax payers, besides, averting to put additional financial load on the shoulders of the exporters in shape of levy of the additional taxes as well.


FTO Abdul Rauf Chaudhary said that the FBR should also remove all seen and unseen hurdles from the way of promotion of national exports.


FTO assured the Sialkot exporters that their tax related problems would be solved on priority.


FTO Abdul Rauf Chaudhary told the meeting that there was record 60 percent decline in smuggling between Pakistan and Afghanistan due to the effective measure taken by FTO Pakistan, which was a great success indeed.


He announced that a regional office of Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) would soon be established at Sialkot for providing early relief to the local exporters/ complainants at local level within a stipulated period of 60 days.


Addressing the meeting, Chairman Sialkot International Airport Limited (SIAL) Malik Muhammad Ashraf told the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) that the Air Freight Unit (AFU) established at Sialkot International Airport in 2010 (six years ago) had been lying nonoperational  there for the last six years due to the non-availability of the officials for it by the customs officials as well. He demanded the early formal functioning of this AFU in the larger national interest as well.


Earlier, while presenting his address of welcome, acting SCCI President Adnan Sarwar Sethi said that the Sialkot exporters were much perturbed as their duty drawback, sales tax, income tax refund claims (amounting Rs.2.5 billion) had been lying pending for the last several years. He said that the inordinate delay in the payment of these refund claims was causing financial crisis for the Sialkot exporters, besides, creating hurdles in the smooth flow of cash in the Sialkot’s export industries as well.


Acting SCCI President also demanded the early exemption of the Sialkot’s export industries from withholding tax recently levied by the Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA).


He said that the Sialkot exporters were the “roaming ambassadors” which had been playing their vital role in strengthening the national economy by earning the foreign exchange to the tune of US$ 2 billion annually.