Karachi, November 29, 2021 (PPI-OT):Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, accompanied by Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Amir Khan visited OICCI on November 26, 2021, for a joint meeting with senior executives of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) and American Business Council (ABC) member companies. OICCI President Irfan Siddiqui, Vice President Ghias Uddin Khan and OICCI CE/Secretary General M. Abdul Aleem welcomed the honourable guests, as well as members of the two chambers.
The OICCI President appreciated the efforts of the advisor and the finance ministry for the work they have done to address grievances raised by the members in the past. M. Abdul Aleem shared a brief presentation, which included few key changes in Perception and Investment Survey of 2021 from 2019, specifically relating to perception of members regarding various ministries and authorities. He also highlighted some issues raised by members.
Shaukat Tarin shared some brief comments on recent IMF related matters likely to impact businesses. He mentioned that he is aware of the concerns of OICCI members related to pending refunds and was working on the solution. In response to questions he also invited the members to visit his office where their specific high impact issues will be addressed based on their due merit. He said that inflation, is currently, the biggest challenge facing Pakistan. Proxy indicators for growth show numbers higher than 5% which is a positive indicator, however, he emphasized that we need to curb down to create a sustainable growth environment for the future.
He also noted that the export-import gap is a challenge that needs to be addressed and they are working to reduce it. He also informed that measures are being taken to reduce speculative pressure on exchange rate to help stabilize the forex market and the government is also trying to broaden the tax base with the help of information technology and artificial intelligence. He further added that a mechanism for self-assessment and third-party audits, by professionals of independent bodies like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan, will be introduced to address complaints relating to tax harassment.
In the Q and A session, participants raised some hardship issues, which included the following points:
Exemption of duties to be restored for key components to the lighting industry
FBR is considering rollback of recent relief given to taxpayers – members concern on Mini Budget
Draft Refining Policy 2021- support from MoF for the approval, pending since almost 2 years
Mismatch in Sales Tax rates on crude purchases (Input Tax) and rate of sales tax on Petrol and HSD (Output Tax)
Continuation of zero rating and way forward for dairy sector
Extension in deadline for mandatory digital payments by corporate sector
Delayed resolution of FBR litigation cases
Strengthening of ADR system to resolve long pending litigations
The Adviser assured that all the issues raised will be reviewed and appropriately addressed. He also assured regular interaction with the chamber and organizations to ensure resolution of their issues. Responding to the issue of governance, he emphasized that experienced individuals who understand the practical situation on the ground need to be made a part of the system. Public-private coalitions are the way forward in ensuring that the government understands the grievances and have adept personnel to address them. Moreover, the launch of a Single Window for Customs will help address issues by removing human interactions, which would increase transparency and build trust.
He assured that the government will not over burden the already taxed sector. He also gave confidence that the government’s intentions are to assist the businesses and not hurt them, therefore, any gaps left behind in correcting distortions will be managed appropriately. President OICCI, Irfan Siddiqui, thanked Shaukat Tarin for taking time out from his schedule to hear our members and inform them about the steps being taken to resolve their issues.
For more information, contact:
Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI)
Chamber of Commerce Building, Talpur Road, P.O. Box 4833,
Karachi – 74000, Pakistan