October 12, 2021: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Muhammad Idrees, while highly criticizing FBR’s decision to revoke the clause that made it mandatory to warn defaulters 24 hours before freezing their bank accounts, stated that this would open up a floodgate of corruption as it would provide yet another tool to FBR officials to harass the business community.
“We the business community of Karachi reject FBR’s decision with a fervent appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan and Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin to refrain FBR from taking this anti-business as it is going to prove counter-productive to all the efforts being made by the government for ease of doing business”, he said.
President KCCI pointed out that at a time when business confidence had just started to revive, FBR backtracked all the measures taken towards creating a conducive business environment. In a major blow to the business and industrial community, FBR has withdrawn the over two-year-old instructions that had been issued to bar taxmen from taking money without prior intimation to the account holders. The Business and Industrial Community strongly condemns this move based on the fact that this notification was issued after a very detailed deliberation with the then Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi, he added.
Keeping in view, FBR’s long history of misuse of powers, corruption, and harassment, Muhammad Idrees feared that revoking the clause would be extremely detrimental to the economy as business transactions will suddenly get stuck without the businessman knowing the reason. Any interruption inflow of funds will create also distrust in foreign buyers which will ruin the integrity and reputation of Pakistani businessmen.
“It will have severely negative repercussions and irreversible loss to the economy and business. It will also dent the drive of broadening of tax which is also against the national interest. Current times require added confidence of entrepreneurs and investors but due to this step the confidence level will go down in a very crucial era when we need investment and we need to create employment and exports”, he warned, adding that this decision has to be straightway withdrawn without a second thought in mind.
Muhammad Idrees, while referring to the last meeting of KCCI’s delegation with Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin in Islamabad which was also attended by Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, PM’s Advisor Razzak Dawood, and Chairman FBR Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq, stated that on one hand, the lawmakers have been assuring to fully facilitate the business community and simplifying taxation laws but on the other, those discretionary powers, which had always been widely opposed by the business community were once again being returned at the Commissioner level which was beyond our understanding.