Kasif Anwar stresses need for curtailing discretionary powers of FBR officers
LAHORE: The government has presented a business supportive budget 2020-21 as it seems that the government is cognizant of the hard times for trade and industry due to the COVID-19 which is a stepping stone towards stabilization of the economy. However, the discretionary powers of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) needs to be reviewed in the larger national interest.
This was stated by Friends of Economic and Business Reforms (FEBR) President Kashif Anwar while talking to Customs Today. “What we have perceived from the Budget 2020-12 is that the government has shown empathy to trade and industry as a number of additional taxes have been removed while customs duties on the raw-materials have been waived off which would certainly help the economy to be strong,” he said.
He said that exemption of custom duties on import of raw materials, exemption of custom duty on import of raw material by manufacturer of syringes and saline infusion sets, exemption of customs duties on import of raw material by manufacturers of buttons, reduction in custom duty on import of raw material by manufacturers of interlining/buckram, reduction of custom duty and exemption of additional custom duty and regulatory duty on import of raw materials by manufacturers of Wire rod, exemption of custom duties and regulatory duty on import of machinery, equipment and other project related items for setting up of internet cable landing stations, exemption of custom duties on import of raw material by beverage can manufacturers and reduction in Custom duty and exemption from additional custom duty on import of raw material by food packaging industry are laudable measures.
Kashif Anwer also welcomed that reduction in regulatory duty on smuggling prone items to bring these items under legal imports, regulatory duty on several industrial inputs is also being reduced to decrease their cost of doing business, tariff protection for domestic industry by increasing/levy of regulatory duty on import of those items which are also locally manufactured, incentivizing soap manufacturing industry by reducing rate of additional customs duty on palm stearin and enhancing scope of concessions available to Special Economic Zones.
However, he stressed the need for curtailing the discretionary powers of the FBR officers.
“Everything should be an open secret. Nothing should be kept hidden. The orders should always be in the notice of the board instead of a commissioner or any other officers. If this portion is reviewed the government can ensure utmost transparency in the business of FBR,” he highlighted.
While talking about the Punjab Budget he said that the Punjab Budget is also equally good for more tax and stamp duties have been reduced while discount on property tax has also been increased from 5 to 10 percent.
“Discount on the registration of vehicle taxes has also been doubled while taxes on restaurants and hotels have also been rationalized extending relief to the businessmen,” he explained, terming the Punjab budget as a people friendly-budget.
In an answer to a question about the port terminal operators and DP world like shipping lines’ defiance of orders of government authorities about giving free times to importers at least in COVID-19 , he said that the government should also make the issue a part of the budget document so that they could not be able to challenge the government authority.