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Business community to continue protests against Federal Board of Revenue’s controversial Standing Revenue Order 351 (I)/ 2014

Karachi, May 15, 2014 (PPI-OT): Chairman of Businessmen Group and Former President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Siraj Kassam Teli and President KCCI, Abdullah Zaki, while strongly criticizing the issuance of SRO 351 (I)/ 2014 by Federal Board of Revenue, said that the business community totally rejects this controversial SRO 351 (I)/ 2014 which has granted discretionary powers to Directorate General Intelligence and Investigation, Inland Revenue.

Addressing a press conference at KCCI Auditorium on Thursday, Siraj Teli said that the entire business community of Karachi and other areas of the country stand united and they will continue to protest until this unjust and anti-business SRO 351 (I)/ 2014 is withdrawn.

In this regard, Siraj Teli requested Federal Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar to revisit SRO 351 (I)/ 2014 and hold a meeting with the business community next week so that they could get a chance to explain their reservations.

Vice Chairmen BMG Zubair Motiwala and Haroon Farooki, President KCCI, Abdullah Zaki, Senior Vice President KCCI, Muffasar A. Malik, Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Idrees, Former Presidents KCCI, Majyd Aziz and A. Q. Khalil, Chairman Site Association of Industry, Younus M. Bashir, President Sukkur Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abdul Fatah Shaikh and KCCI Managing Committee members also attended the Press Conference.

BMG Chairman further stated that SRO 351 (I)/ 2014 will only intensify the hardships being faced by existing taxpayers whereas non-taxpayers will remain out of tax net. “SRO 351 (I)/ 2014needs to be revisited and it should not be imposed on 900,000 existing taxpayers who are regularly filing their returns. It should have focused on strictly dealing with millions of non-taxpayers”, he added.

Granting discretionary powers to Directorate General I and I (IR), particularly the authority to arrest any individual, will only promote corruption and create immense problems for the business community, Siraj Teli opined and urged Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar that bureaucracy should not be allowed to get such discretionary powers.

“It seems that SRO 351 (I)/ 2014 has been issued with a view to punish the honest taxpayers only”, he added. Commenting on Prime Minister’s recent meeting in Karachi to discuss law and order situation of the city, Siraj Teli said that all efforts being made by Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif were being sabotaged as the Prime Minister was being misinformed by mobile phone companies and their accomplices in corruption.

“We have no doubt over the sincerity of Prime Minister towards improving the security situation of Karachi but regretfully, we have to say that all his efforts are being sabotaged”, he added. BMG Chairman pointed out that over 80% of crimes of all kinds take place using mobile phones and the only solution is to shut down all the prepaid Sims in one go and get them reissued and sent to their postal addresses as per CNIC through courier services.

“It will surely get rid of all those sims which were illegally issued and this process can be done in just three days as the mobile companies are fully computerized. We have noticed that these companies are offering other solutions which actually are not perfect and are kind of delaying tactics meanwhile people are dying”, he said, adding that this is the only solution, until and unless this is done, the crimes will continue.

Siraj Teli said, “We simply do not understand whether lives are more important or the businesses of these mobile companies. He appealed Prime Minister to take notice of the situation and order these companies to shut down all prepaid sims and reissue them to postal addresses only”.

Vice Chairman BMG and Former President KCCI, Zubair Motiwala said that SRO 351 (I)/ 2014 will only trigger bribery and corruption. He said that instead of overburdening the existing taxpayer, FBR should devise a clear strategy on how to deal with non-taxpayers. The set of discretionary powers granted to Directorate General I and I (IR) under SRO 351 (I)/ 2014 will only create problems for businessmen and it must be withdrawn.

Vice Chairman BMG, Haroon Farooki, while terming it the target killing of business community, said that issuance of SRO 351 (I)/ 2014 was illegal as it has been imposed without any consultation or approval. Although the government recently established Business Advisory Council and Tax Advisory Council in which Abdullah Zaki represents KCCI but unfortunately no meeting of Tax Advisory Council was held prior to the issuance of SRO 351 (I)/ 2014, which is likely to affect all businesses.

Earlier, President KCCI, Abdullah Zaki informed that with the implementation of SRO 351 (I)/ 2014, all set of powers being exercised by Large Taxpayer Units (LTUs) and Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) have also been granted to Directorate General I and I (IR), which is highly unfair as globally, it is a common phenomenon that same set of powers pertaining to taxation cannot be enjoyed by more than one organization at a time.

He informed that KCCI was in constant touch with many chambers of commerce and trade bodies across the country including Lahore, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Quetta and Sukkur chambers who stand united against this unfair SRO 351 (I)/ 2014. “We strongly condemn FBR’s move and urge the concerned authority to immediately revoke it”, he added.

For more information, contact:
Aamir Hassan
Director Press/ Electronic Media and Public Relations
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)
Aiwan-e-Tijarat Road, Off Shahrah-e-Liaquat,
Email: info@kcci.com.pk, secretary@kcci.com.pk
URL: www.kcci.com.pk
Office: +92 99218001-09
Fax: +92 21 99218040

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