FBR powers to arrest traders not acceptable: Miftah Ismail

Staff Reporter

PML-N leader and former finance minister Mistah Ismail on Sunday strongly opposed the government’s decision to grant powers to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) commissioners to arrest citizens including businessmen, calling it “unnecessary and a tool for harassment”.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Ismail said the government’s tax policies had already burdened the business community, “and now the arrest powers to FBR will further shake confidence of businessmen and it will pave way for harassment, which we are strongly opposed to.”

He also highlighted that the government had imposed a condition upon taxpayers to submit total tax amount as “identified” by FBR commissioner.

Like, if the commissioner has asked a person his outstanding tax dues amount to Rs500 million, he first has to pay the entire amount before filing a review plea, which is totally unjust,” he said, adding that previously there was a condition to submit 10 per cent amount and avail the review option.

The PML leader said everyone knew once the money was deposited to FBR, it couldn’t be reclaimed.

Ismail said such conditions would not increase revenue, but would fuel anxiety among the business community.

He said the government had fixed Rs 610bn for petroleum levy, and the current indicators showed that about Rs30.5 would be further increased in petroleum prices, which in turn may further lead to a hike in the price of basic edibles.

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