The finance ministry on Saturday withdrew the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) controversial SRO 351 of 2014 following immense pressure by traders and all chambers of commerce and industry across the country, who after refusing it warned to initiate a series of country-wide protests on the issue.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was presiding over a meeting of tax advisory council comprising all stakeholders including chartered accountants, academia, senior tax consultants, retired senior officers, industrialists, presidents of FPCCI, four provincial CCIs and professional associations including ICAP, ICMA, president tax bar, SECP, Pakistan Banking Association, KSE, LSE and ISE with the FBR officials for consultation on Budget-related proposals to be incorporated in the financial year 2014-15 at the FBR.
The finance minister said that economic recovery was the top priority of the PML-N government and with the introduction of reforms during the last 10 months, the economy has been put on the right direction. Now with the hard work, commitment and dedication, all the economic indicators were on the upward trajectory, he added.
During the sitting when traders and various chambers’ representatives lodged their strong protest on the issue it participants of the meeting were informed that FBR issued the particular discriminatory SRO without approval from the Ministry concerned and the decision was devastating for the business community.
To this the minister informed the traders that today (Saturday) he suspended implementation of SRO 351 of 2014, which was issued by FBR without his approval and was unfair in its spirit.
He further informed the traders that all discriminatory SROs will be abolished in a period of three years and all the stakeholders are working together in this regard.
Dar emphasized on formulation of realistic proposals aimed at ensuring growth in the economy and revenue generation enabling the government for appropriate allocation in development sector and social safety net.
He observed that we believe in consulting all stakeholders including Chambers of Commerce, trade bodies, exporters and importers and the representatives of the industries in the process of budget making.
The business representatives discussed in detail their issues and recommendations. They appreciated the work being done by the Finance Ministry and FBR for SROs rationalization.
The trade representatives appreciated finance minister’s sincerity, headwork and dedication for the uplift of country.
The traders also appreciated finance minister’s personal interest in sales tax refunds up to rupees one million.
There was a general sense of satisfaction on the economic policies of the government and expectations that strengthening of rupee will bring positive impact on the country.
Earlier Senator Ishaq Dar mentioned that transparency, merit, openness and good governance remained hallmark of the PML-N government and resolved to make every effort possible to facilitate the traders on their reasonable demands while keeping in mind the national interest for taking the country forward on way to development and progress.
Chairman SECP, Chairman FBR, representatives of Chartered Accountants Firms and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and FBR were also present during the meeting,