Fake CNICs sore point in FATF talks: FBR

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LAHORE: Deals against fake identity cards make it delicate for the government’s mediators to argue with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Federal Board of Profit (FBR) president Dr Muhammad Ashfaq said on Sunday.

He said cases related to Rs3.5 trillion levies would soon be disposed of as the bar has promised to resolve this issue‘out of the way’.

“ It becomes delicate to argue with the transnational community when business on such a large scale is done against fake CNICs. This situation complicates issues with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF),” the FBR chief said while speaking to the business community then at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Sunday.

“ There should n’t be an issue with the purchaser to give a dupe of his CNIC while buying products worth Rs100, and over,” he added.

Chairman says bar has promised to dispose of Rs3.5 trillion duty cases

Talking about court cases, Mr Ashfaq nominated it the most important issue and said he’d meetings with the honourable judges, including Islamabad High Court Chief Justice. “ During meetings, I told them that the cases related to levies worth Rs3.5 trillion are stuck in the courts that must be disposed of. I was assured that all similar cases would be resolved within a short time out of the way. A special bench has also been constituted in Islamabad,” he said.

The president was of the view that the country was in a dire need to bridge the gap between duty and charges to GDP, as this situation was forcing it to go for loans from the IMF and other institutions. “ Our duty-to-GDP rate is about 12 per cent while expenditure to GDP is 20 per cent. To bridge the gap, we get loans that are to be ultimately paid by us or coming generations. Thus, we will have to change our life and culture by paying levies,” he said.

He said withholding duty was always applied on income internationally, but, in Pakistan, it was also being charged on bank deals. This is because people do n’t pay levies. “ We’ll gradationally end this practice with the strengthening of the income duty system,” Mr Ashfaq maintained.

He told the business community that further duty immunity would be withdrawn soon while the deals duty rate would be rationalised within one or two times. He claimed that the FBR’s refund system was one of the stylish in the world and ST refunds were being cleared in 72 hours. He said the withholding duty would be rationalised in the forthcoming budget.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said colorful taxation measures taken in the Finance Supplementary Act 2022 would have an adverse impact on the growth of frugality & assiduity.

He said the deals duty immunity on imported ministry had been withdrawn which would eventually hit SMEs and exports.

“ The cost of doing business in the recent times has increased extensively. To bring the cost of doing business down, we need to diversify our energy blend to cut the cost of electricity product by adding the share of renewable energy, particularly solar. The measure of rescinding deals duty impunity on import of solar panels and renewable energy outfit can prove to be a big handicap in achieving the ideal of making our energy mix further cost effective,” he explained.

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