ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan has said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is taking strict enforcement action against the sale of non-duty paid or illegal tobacco/cigarettes without any discrimination across the country.
Speaking at a pre-budget seminar organized by the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Haroon Akhtar said it is unfortunate that around 27 percent of the non-duty paid cigarettes are being sold in the country.
He said the entire cigarette industry can fully utilize the benefits of third tier (revised Federal Excise Duty structure) on cigarettes without any discrimination as both the multinational cigarette manufacturing companies and domestic manufacturers can equally avail benefits of third tier (3rd slab of excise duty on cigarettes).
“We are not giving any special treatment or favour to the multinational cigarette manufacturing companies as the benefit of third tier (third Federal Excise Duty slab) on cigarettes are also being availed by the local cigarette manufacturing units. The facility is available to both of the multinational industry and the domestic manufactures without any discriminatory treatment,” he said.
It is unfortunate that some of the illegal local units are selling cigarette pack even as low as Rs 25 per pack which is much less than the minimum retail price of Rs 48 per pack.
FBR Chairman Tariq Pasha informed the meeting that the FBR is not creating any problems for the local documented industry or manufacturers operating legally and paying their dues taxes in the national kitty.
“We are only against the illegal units which are evading taxes and making their compliant counterparts uncompetitive and ineffective. The FBR would continue with the policy of inspections and raids against the illegal units involved in tax evasion and causing massive loss to the national exchequer. The FBR will not spare tax evaders in cigarette industry but the same time fully facilitate the taxpaying complaint cigarette manufacturing units.”
For the first time in the history of budget, the FBR has patiently listened to the budget proposals and issues of the local cigarette industry thrice. These meetings between the local industry and FBR were held in the friendly atmosphere. We welcome the legal and documented industry to come and present their proposals. If any compliant unit has grievances or issues, he is welcome to meet tax authorities at the FBR house, but we have no place for illegal tobacco industry, which is evading taxes and causing huge loss to the national kitty.