Workshop on ‘identification, counterfeit recognition’ ends
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) concluded the series of workshops on “Identification on Counterfeit Recognition” held in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. The discussion was held regarding tax complaint cigarette industry in the workshops. FBR receives 39 percent of its FED and 3.5 percent of total tax revenue from legitimate cigarette industry. Speaking on the occasion, Director General of Training and Research Inland Revenue, Ansar Javed said illegal cigarette industry has gradually grown to become one of the largest tax evaders in our economy.“Unfortunately Pakistan ranks among the top ten countries in the world when it comes to illegal cigarette trade and the actual figures to the loss of national exchequer might be closer to Rs 40 to 50 billion, he added. He further added about 18.5 per cent of the cigarette industry in Pakistan comprises of either smuggled products or products on which the due levies are not paid. Underlining the importance of increase in tax net, Ansar Javed deplored the fact that country’s tax to GDP ratio is merely 10.2, which is a dismal 155th in the world and one of the lowest in the region.“Such a huge revenue loss from just one sector is unacceptable.” he stated. He also acknowledged the inherent weaknesses of his organization and conceded the FBR is still far from completely resolving this problem. Director General Human Resource Management FBR, Rana Seerat said expertise in the identification of illicit or counterfeit cigarettes is the first step towards finding a panacea for the evil of illegal cigarette trade and in that perspective such training provide the foundation on which all further efforts by FBR would be based.“The extent of tax evasion and illicit trade in this country puts huge pressure on our economy and also unjustifiably burdens the compliant taxpayers,” she added. She sounded positive that if we can pull our act together and succeed in improving our tax to GDP ratio, all other problems will be tackled. The interesting aspect of the training workshop was thorough and detailed presentations made by officials of PMPKl (formerly Lakson Tobacco) who narrated their side of the story and the woes accompanied them.