KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Ghazanfar Bilour has warned that if the government fails to pay huge outstanding amount against refunds, the trade and industry will be left with no choice but to approach Supreme Court of Pakistan,
Addressing a post-budget press conference at the Federation House, Bilour said refunds have become a serious issue since a huge outstanding payment against sales tax and income tax is pending with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Since the budget proposals unveiled by the Finance Minister Miftah Ismail a day earlier in the National Assembly carried no concrete measures for the payment of outstanding refunds we are left with no choice but to approach the Supreme Court, he maintained. On the contrary, he said, the budgetary proposals in a way deferred payment of refunds which would mean that exports – which are already suffering due to a liquidity crunch – will have to wait for another year to get payments.
However, he was quick to say that the FPCCI delegation has been invited by the newly appointed finance minister to Islamabad to sort out budget related issues and anomalies.
In this regard, Mr Bilour said that FPCCI – after consultation with member bodies of chambers and trade associations – will set up a budget anomalies committee which will be leave for Islamabad on Wednesday or Thursday to meet the finance minister.
Similarly, he said, the government is also setting up a budget anomalies committee and exactly one week after the Islamabad meeting, the finance minister will be visiting the FPCCI to give replies and solutions, if any, regarding the issues and anomalies raised by trade and industry.
The FPCCI president was optimistic that a way out will be found in the Islamabad meeting. He further stressed that the new finance minister has assured to look into the matter and resolve the anomalies amicably.
“The budget 2018-19 proposals carry many good measures which are in favor of trade and industry but some anomalies need to be sort out and removed in the larger interest of the economy,” he noted.
However, he stressed that currently the most damaging measure in the budget is deferring of payment of refunds against sales tax and income tax to the tune of Rs400 billion.
The widening of trade gap, he said, is already a serious issue for the country and if the government does not release the outstanding refunds along with current dues many export oriented industries will close down causing large scale unemployment.
The FPCCI president was assisted by senior vice president Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, vice president Tariq Haleem, vice president Zahid Saeed, Rafiq Godial member FPCCI managing committee.