LAHORE: Textile lobbies, particularly of Punjab, have demanded the resignation of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman over bureaucratic hurdles in the way of clearing outstanding sales tax refund claims of the industry.
At a press conference on Friday, members of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), Textile Processing Mills Association, Towel Manufacturers and All Pakistan Textile Exporters Association blamed the Ministry of Finance as well as the FBR for a persistent decline in textile exports.
“For the first time in history, the FBR has rolled back RPOs (Refund Payment Orders) to cross-check authenticity of the sales tax refund claims. The FBR chairman as well as those officers who examined the claims should resign from their posts,” said Aptma Chairman Aamir Fayyaz.
He decried that three months had passed since the announcement of a textile package by the prime minister, but not a single rupee had been released.
Denouncing the government’s attitude, PHMA Chairman Adil Butt cautioned that the Rs180-billion revival package for export-oriented industries would not meet the target unless outstanding refund cases of exporters were settled and funds promised in the package were released without any delay.
Owing to the lack of competitiveness compared to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and China, the benefit of GSP Plus status granted by the European Union had been virtually nullified, he said.
The industry leaders demanded that the government immediately withdraw the FBR directives to roll back the RPOs for immediate payment of the outstanding sales tax refunds.
They also proposed that there should be a uniform energy price across the country in order to remove disparity and become competitive in the international market.
They suggested that prices of re-gasified LNG and natural gas should be merged in order to arrive at the weighted average cost for setting uniform prices for the industry.
“… if Dar spends half of his time with the export-oriented industry instead of IMF and World Bank officials, then there will be no need to borrow money as Pakistan’s textile sector alone has the potential to earn huge foreign exchange,” they added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2017.