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FPCCI seeks removal of compulsory ST registration for exporters

FPCCI seeks removal of compulsory ST registration for exporters

KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has called for withdrawal of Sales Tax Registration Number requirement in WeBOC at the time of registration for exporters.

In a statement, FPCCI acting President Azhar Saeed Butt has said that the delays in exports are due to the new WeBOC system’s requirement of STRN for attaining ID and password of exporters, especially of the ones who do not claim refunds or are exempted from sales tax registration under the Sixth Schedule. He said that the requirement not only caused delays in exports but also resulted in the cancellation of export orders and loss of valuable foreign exchange revenues.

He added that all exporters are already in the tax net as exports cannot take place without having an NTN number. Butt said that there are hundreds of small exporters dealing in non-traditional items, whose share in exports both in terms of number and value, is significant.

“They have low turnover and are not registered for sales tax as many of them fall under the category of cottage industry,” he said. These exporters have limited resources. Burdening them with sales tax registration would mean that they must employ additional help for compliance and missing monthly filing dates would lead to additional penalties, thus increasing their cost of doing business, he added.

“Exporters who do not claim refunds are contributing to the economy by not only bringing foreign remittance into the country but also by not burdening the exchequer through refunds,” said Butt. “No such condition is applicable on exports in the neighbouring countries and having it in Pakistan will hamper our competitiveness.”

Many exports do not take place throughout the year, he said, adding that they should not be burdened with monthly filings. “This will be against the government policy of deregulation and simplification of laws.”

The acting president FPCCI suggested that the requirement of STRN in the WeBOC system should be removed altogether with immediate effect to facilitate the current export orders and deadlines.

Further, exporters (not claiming sales tax refunds) and belonging to the cottage industry, who are already exempt from sales tax, should be exempt from the mandatory sales tax registration and be allowed to register in WeBOC without the sales tax number requirement.