LAHORE: A large number of duty drawback claims of exporters are stuck with the Customs Collectorate for shipments of leather through the Lahore airport, which has not been cleared despite several meetings with the collector, said Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) Export Committee Chairman Anjum Zafar in a statement.
Unavailability of the cheque-signing authority at the collectorate caused delay in the release of leather exporters’ tax refunds, which had piled up to Rs450 million, he said.
Zafar pointed out that the association’s members were facing difficulties in continuing their business smoothly in the wake of challenges caused by power and gas shortages, law and order concerns and rising prices of petroleum products.
He cautioned that before Eidul Azha, which would fall at the end of August, the leather exporters needed a smooth flow of funds.
“If tanners do not receive refund claims, they will not be able to buy a large quantity of raw hides and skins this Eid, which may cause losses to farmers, butchers and the whole supply chain of the leather industry,” he said.
He was of the view that a lot of people had a stake in the skin and hide business on Eidul Azha, who were entirely reliant on the interest of tanners in buying the raw material for leather production.
“Without ample funds, the leather industry will fail to operate effectively and the whole market mechanism will be disrupted,” he said.
Zafar appealed to the FBR chairman to take notice of the situation and direct the authorities concerned to settle all the pending duty drawback claims.
The leather tanning industry needed to expeditiously get rid of the liquidity crunch as it would not be possible to make exports without timely and smooth release of tax refunds, he emphasised.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2018.