QUETTA: The traders and businessmen of Balochistan have called off their strike on the assurance of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed that their grievances will be addressed.
It may be mentioned here that there was an exchange of heated words between Chairman FBR team and traders. Vice Chairman All Pakistan Customs Agents Association Alamgir Durrani wakled out of the meeting, but other office bearers of Chaman Chamber of Commerce mentioned that it was against their norms to decline a guest coming from a distance.
FBR sources said Dr. Ashfaq was adopting a pro-smuggling policy to damage the Customs group. Dr. Ashfaq was undermining the efforts of Customs officers.
An official said Dr. Ashfaq was damaging Pakistan Single Window (PSW) and legal trade. Chairman FBR had no control over PSW, so that he wanted to separate it from FBR.
The business community were on a protest for the last three days, demanding transfer of a Customs Intelligence officer over unnecessary harassment of importers and exporters and lodging FIRs against them. The community has given till January 10, 2022 to the FBR chairman to resolve their issues otherwise they would resume their strike.
Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) President Fida Hussain Dashti complained about the behaviour of the Customs Intelligence director and others, saying that they have set up baseless cases against importers and exporters against which protests are going on.
The FBR chairman was received at the QCCI by its president, Senior Vice President Muhammad Ayub Mariani, Vice President Amjad Ali Siddiqui and others.
The FBR chairman said that he was aware of the difficulties and problems faced by the people associated with industry and trade in Balochistan as well as the poverty and backwardness of the people of the province.
“We want a solution to the obstacles in the way of development of industry and commerce,” Ahmed said, adding that the views of the officials and members of the QCCI are highly valued.
“Steps will be taken to restore tax tribunal and deployment of director general valuation in Balochistan soon,” he said. “There is no concept of an undocumented economy in the world. We have no choice but to have a documented economy.”
He assured the QCCI members that Balochistan’s right will be taken into consideration in each and every MoU inked with Iran.
The QCCI members and others apprised the FBR chairman that the authority of tax valuation in Balochistan is vested in the Customs Collectorate under Section 25-A of the Customs Act but it has not been implemented so far.
Dashti said, “Under Section 25-A, relief was given to those involved in industry and trade of Balochistan in tax valuation, which increased the revenue from Rs4 billion to Rs45 billion.
“We demand that Balochistan be given 30% to 35% discount in tax valuation.”