Comprehensive crackdown launched against tax evaders, smugglers and trade bodies

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has finalized arrangements as a massive crackdown is planned against tax evaders, traders involved in smuggling and trade bodies blackmailing the authorities through protests and strikes.

Sources said the revenue body has received a go ahead from Advisor to PM on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. Shabbar Zaidi, who has close ties with the business community, is given the task to document the economy particularly retailers and wholesalers so that sale and distribution of smuggled goods could be eliminated.

Once all the markets, retailers and wholesalers are documented and their procurement/sale records are streamlined, it would be impossible to sell smuggled goods. It may be mentioned here that local markets are flooded with smuggled mobile phones, garments, cloth, electronics, toys, cigarettes, and several other goods.

It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered a decisive action against smuggling and after control of smuggling, local industries would grow and national economy would be strengthened.

Shabbar Zaidi has already initiated an exercise to document all retailers and wholesalers. Even small shopkeepers in remote areas are being tracked and notices have been issued to such shopkeepers urging them to register.

Sources said successive previous governments had left the country’s economy in shambles, but the POTI government is committed to improvement of economy, betterment of people, elimination of corruption and injustice.

FBR sources said the strikes and protest demonstrations by the trade bodies would make no difference as comprehensive action has been launched against all elements involved in wrongdoings.

About the SRO 1125, sources said IRS and Customs intelligence agencies are collecting data to identify the persons and traders who misused the concessionary regime. Moreover, the FMU of the State Bank of Pakistan has also collected details of individuals involved in tax evasion and money laundering.

FBR sources said a mechanism had been prepared and genuine exporters would get speedy returns and industrialists would face no liquidity crunch. It may be mentioned here that government has recently issued Rs35 billion worth of refund claims to the exporters.

Sources said there would be even higher inflation going forward for some time, but the government is taking measures to curtail the flow of easy money which would decrease demand and eventually inflation would normalize and economic engines would gain momentum.

It is hoped that things would start improving after two years as the entire economy would be documented, there would be only genuine traders and businessmen.

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has started crackdown against Benami property holders and attached billions of rupees assets one day before expiry of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s tax amnesty scheme that has been availed by 129,000 people.

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