Saturday July 02, 2022

BMG slams FBR for raising duties without consultation

By Our Correspondent
May 20, 2022

KARACHI: Businessmen on Thursday slammed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for not consulting stakeholders before sanctioning ban on luxury imports and duty hikes to curb the swelling current account deficit. The FBR has recommended to impose ban on luxury items and raising duties on many imported items including cars, household items, mobile phones, machineries, tiles, and ceramics. The decision taken to slowdown the outflow of dollars from the country was called out for creating a lot of confusion among the stakeholders.

The business community held a meeting in this regard, where they discussed the economic issues being faced by the country.

Businessmen Group (BMG) Chairman Zubair Motiwala, Vice Chairmen Tahir Khaliq, Haroon Farooki, Anjum Nisar, Jawed Bilwani, and General Secretary AQ Khalil, in a joint statement said they feared that the FBR might have also increased duties on items which were either not manufactured locally or were produced in quantities lower than the demand.

“We hope that FBR has not recommended any increase in duties on imported raw materials for industrial purposes which, if raised, would terribly affect industrial performance and the economy will be plunged into further crises,” they said. They reminded that import of raw material for industrial consumption should continue without any hindrance with a view to ensure increased production, high exports and import-substitution.

They also expressed deep concerns over persistent devaluation of Pakistani rupee against dollar, which has risen to an all-time high of Rs200. Surging inflation, heavy subsidy to minimise the impact of rising international petroleum prices and other poorly performing economic indicators were also discussed.

It was time the government took some difficult decisions, they said, while urging to also tackle the political crisis on war footing to restore the confidence of investors. Government, all political parties and other institutions should forget their differences for the time being and prioritise the economic and financial crises so actions could be taken in the larger interest of the country.

Huge amount of foreign exchange earned legally by overseas Pakistanis should be brought to the country by offering complete tax waiver on foreign remittances, incentives and other schemes to encourage investments in various sectors of the economy.

Criticising the ongoing talks about the country falling into bankruptcy, they said that it was really unfortunate that instead of coming up with a solution to save the motherland from falling into disaster, political parties were busy in blame game and point scoring.

BMG leadership underscored that all political parties should jointly devise and agree upon the desperately needed ‘Charter of Economy’, which the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has been demanding since long. Regardless of political differences, the economic policies once agreed upon and implemented under the said charter should remain intact.

BMG leadership also stressed for the need to publicise the modalities of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and targeted subsidies, as the business community feared that the burden would be passed on to the common man and loyal taxpayers.