Prime Minister urged to help release exporters’ refunds claims
RECORDER REPORT APR 14TH, 2017 KARACHI
Textile exporters on Thursday demanded of the Prime Minister to intervene in to the FBR’s decision of rolling back the Electronic Payment Release Orders (ERPOs), ensuring immediate release of all the pending refunds claims for giving boost to exports. The demand was made by representatives and exporters of textile sectors at a press conference held here at the PHMA House, Karachi.
Those who spoke on the occasion included Council of All Pakistan Textiles Associations’ (CAPTA) chief coordinator Jawed Bilwani, chairman Zubair Motiwala, Pakistan Knitwear & Sweater Exporters Association’s chairman Rafiq Godil, PHMA’s central chairman Irfan Bawany and Pakistan Towel Manufactures Association’s chairman Haroon Shamsi. Others present on the occasion included Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association’s zonal chairman Riaz Ahmed, Pakistan Cotton Fashion Apparel Manufacturers & Exporters Association’s chairman Khawaja Usman Chairman, Pakistan Weaving Mills Association’s Irfan Motan AmjadJalil, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association’s Owais, Saleem Parekh, Kamran Chandna, Jawed Akhtar.
They said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been continuously targeting the exporters by delaying billions of rupees refunds of sales tax, withholding, customs rebates, duty drawback on taxes & levies for achieving its budgetary revenue collection targets. They said that the FBR’s act of rolling back all pending electronic refunds payment orders of five export-oriented sectors, including textile, leather, carpets, surgical and sports goods, is a lethal attempt to destroy value-added textiles and shatter Pakistan’s textile exports.
The conduct of FBR is also highly contradictory as their entire energy is focused to further squeeze the already existing tax-payers, while no efforts are being made to bring tax-evaders into to net for broadening tax-to-GDP ratio, they said and added that “We are also consulting the legal experts for the reversal of all rolled back ERPOs to safeguard exporters’ rights and interests.
They alleged that the FBR officials are treating exporters and tax-payers as “thieves” and arbitrarily debiting amounts directly from the banks accounts of exporters since last four decades or more. Amid liquidity crunch, exporters have failed to materialize new export order which will further decline textile exports in the coming months, they said, adding that if exporters’ genuine demands were not met they will have no option but to protest.
“We have been disappointed in view of facing repeatedly same situations and circumstances since last so many years and if the government is not interested to resolve the matters and problems of textile should at least suggest us to change our lines of business from export to trading or import or else”, exporters said.
They said that on the one hand, the trade deficit is likely to touch $30 billion market by the end of June 2016 due to decrease in exports while, on the other hand, our competitor Bangladesh’s textile exports alone have touched $28 billion mark and they have set their target of $35 billion in next five years.
Presently, Pakistan has the highest-ever cost of doing business/ manufacturing as compared to its eight competing countries in the region. The difference of cost of doing manufacturing between Pakistan and Bangladesh is from 15 to 22 per cent, while refunds in competing countries are released by their respective governments in 30 to 45 days positively, besides assurances and availability of all other incentives, they pointed out.
“Under such circumstances, we are fighting like soldiers to defend the economic forefront of Pakistan to earn valuable foreign exchange without required support from the government” they said and added that even the federal government has also not implemented its Rs 180 billion textile incentive package.
They urged the prime minister to realise the gravity of the situation and get the textile export refunds released immediately, besides announcing more incentives for the value-added textile sector. Criticising the role of FBR, they said that 23,000 FBR officials have not only miserably failed in achieving budgetary revenue collection targets, but also in broadening the tax-base while registering new tax-payers.
They said that FBR has become habitual of holding refunds and demanding advance taxes on various pretexts two or three months before announcement of budget every year which are adjusted after prolonged time span of several months and even in years. They held the FBR responsible for declining export, saying that FBR had been taking decisions without taking stakeholders on board, and blindly attempting to overcome their targets, and their actions are proving detrimental, besides putting exports at stake.
They said that textile looms sector in major cities, including Karachi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan and Kasur have collapsed, 70pc water and air-jet looms, power looms have been closed, while remaining are working under-capacity. Such a situation, they opined will result in massive unemployment, unrest and poor law and order situation.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017
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