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Wednesday October 05, 2022

Tobacco sector: PM upset with FBR for failure to enforce Track and Trace system

September 09, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has expressed his annoyance over the performance of the FBR for its failure to implement the Track and Trace system in the tobacco sector, it is learnt.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired a high-level meeting on the prevailing situation of the tobacco sector which was participated by senior officials of the FBR, the Ministry of Interior, and others. Top official sources confided to The News on Thursday that the prime minister was upset when he found out that the FBR so far had remained unable to implement the Track and Trace System effectively. Some tobacco sector players now obtained a stay order from one court and the FBR could not get them vacated it so far.

Some official sources also pointed out that the FBR had recently seized a truck of illicit cigarettes this week but the smugglers managed to get them freed from the FBR officials. The premier was so disturbed that he left the meeting room after expressing his annoyance over FBR’s performance, the sources said.

The government had jacked up the FED tax on formal sector giants at two consecutive times but there is increasing apprehension that if the illicit cigarettes are not controlled then the tax collection might not achieve the improved results. The FBR has envisaged tax collection of Rs 200 billion from the tobacco sector but in case of inability to implement the Track and Trace System as well as to ensure effective enforcement there is apprehension that the share of illicit might go up manifold causing loss to the national exchequer.

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