ISLAMABAD: Rawalpindi-Islamabad Tax Bar Association (RITBA) President Syed Tauqeer Bukhari has said a new and equitable tax system is imperative for a successful ‘Naya Pakistan’. New government should also review the green channel facility and its unlawful use by a few black sheep in customs department which is causing loss of Rs1000 billion every year to national exchequer.
He expressed these views during an exclusive interview with Customs Today. He demanded FBR chairman to initiate inquiry and stern action must be taken against those officers who are involved in misusing green channel facility.
Bukhari said, “A balanced and progressive taxation system is need of the hour to promote tax culture, reduce mistrust between taxpayers and collectors and cut widening gap between rich and poor. We will not only fully cooperate with the new government but also give the implementable recommendation to address wider disparities of wealth between rich and poor. We will welcome the commitment of the new government to provide economic justice to the masses as people have pinned high hopes on the economic managers of PTI.”
Syed Tauqeer Bukhari said that the current tax system has failed to deliver which must be replaced with a new system or fundamental changes should be introduced in the existing system which opposes progress. He observed that the current tax system is tilted in favour of rich, and is conflicted with ground realities, and it is pushing people into poverty which can become a national security issue.
“The dependence of our system on indirect taxation has reached almost ninety percent making life difficult for the poor which must be reversed.”
The RITBA president said that taxation system should not be focused on promoting interests of nobility. It should not divert resources to moneyed class on the cost of poor, rather it must ensure the welfare of the ordinary people, he added.
He said that foreign experts must be kept out of the reform process as they have only helped to make taxation system more complicated and cumbersome pushing prospective taxpayers away.
Lauding the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan for ruthless accountability, RITBA hoped that the new government will take concrete steps for the welfare of the masses discounting the practice of tall claims and doing nothing as practiced by the many past governments.
He also hoped that new government will pay attention towards tax reforms agenda and its implementation.
It is important to mention here that Customs Today has been reporting on abuse of green channel since past many years. Mega brands like Mobilink and QMobile were reported to be grossly abusing Green Channel facility with connivance of Customs staff. Customs Today exposed mega smuggling scam of Digicom Company (Q-Mobile) as the company cleared more than 750 containers through green channel. In another case, the company did not pay Sales Tax of Rs 772 million on import of total 2,410,560 mobiles.
On 2nd February 2018, Customs Today exposed a smuggling bid of 15,520 liters of dual use precursor acetic anhydride worth around $1.5 million at Port Qasim. The acetic anhydride is a main ingredient for preparing narcotics substance as well as making highly dangerous explosives by the terrorist outfits. Then, Customs Today published several reports about betel nuts smuggling worth billions of rupees through ports at Port Qasim and Appraisement East Collectorate.
These reports led to multiple raids, tens of FIRs and recoveries of illegally cleared goods worth billions of rupees. In fact, in a single raid at a SITE area godown, 600,000 kgs of betel nuts worth Rs 1.5 billion were seized. Notwithstanding, these actions were only as token in nature and is a drop in the ocean whereas much more needs to be done. Customs Today also published investigative reports about changing of strategies by green channel smugglers as they started clearing illegal goods through yellow channel & TP.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan also took notice of the green channel illegal clearances and the court associate sent a copy to the NAB chief for necessary action.