Audit ‘doubled’ tax revenue from sugar mills

PM's aide says govt revenue doubled during last fiscal year due to audit of mills


Our Correspondent October 16, 2021
Adviser to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar. PHOTO: PID/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister's Adviser on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar on Saturday said Rs619 billion in additional taxes had been imposed on sugar mills -- of which the courts had ordered to annul Rs38 billion.

Addressing a news conference, the adviser said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had completed a five-year audit of 69 out of 89 sugar mills and they were found to be hiding their sales tax. He added that the evidence had been shared with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

“Ten of them [sugar mills] have obtained stay orders from different high courts [against the tax audit],” he added.

However, he maintained that the audit had contributed to doubling the tax revenue from sugar mills against the last fiscal year.

Akbar further said the federal cabinet had directed the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to inquire about cartelisation of the sugar industry. “The CCP investigated into the matter following its own rules and a fine amounting to Rs44 billion was imposed on the sugar mills.”

He added that those found involved in market manipulation had been imposed with a liability of Rs13.8 billion.

He noted that “speculation” had been termed illegal under the new legislation while federal and provincial governments took action against those involved in it.

The PM’s aide said timely payment to farmers was ensured while a price fixation formula was prepared to determine the sugar rate.

He added that a track and trace system would be installed at sugar mills before the next crushing season to determine their actual production and avoid tax evasion.

Akbar also said an inquiry was also conducted into the shortage of petroleum products last year and a fine was imposed on the oil marketing companies responsible for it.

He claimed that 2,000 illegal filling stations had been shut down which resulted in an increase in the Pakistan State Oil’s (PSO) sales by up to 36% and those of multinational companies by 28%.

Read LHC stays FBR’s audit against Tareen’s JDW sugar mills

He added that vessels were not filled when the petroleum products were at a low price, causing a loss of Rs13.5 billion.

“This amount is being recovered from the companies involved [in the matter].”

Akbar further said the Broadsheet Inquiry Commission had revealed that the case was not fought in the right way by the government from 2009 to 2018.

“An inquiry is underway to find whose negligence was responsible for it and action would be taken against them.”

Akbar claimed that there were serious engineering flaws in Rawalpindi Ring Road and extra loops were erected.

However, he said this project had been re-designed as per the actual alignment and the prime minister would inaugurate it soon.

He denied the involvement of Zulfi Bukhari and Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan in the scam.

The PM’s aide said confusion had been created about the jurisdiction of the recently promulgated National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance.

He said the opposition had not objected to anti-graft laws during their own tenures, however, the present government was making the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) strong.

In the new law, he said the government had tried to facilitate the bureaucracy during the decision-making process. He added that the business community had been exempted from the purview of NAB.

Akbar added that audio and video recordings would be held as evidence by accountability courts.

(WITH INPUT FROM APP)

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