Secretary Commerce, Mohammad Younus Dagha has said that Regulatory Duty was imposed with an intention to only discourage the import of consumer goods and the Ministry of Commerce is also against the imposition of RD on raw material which is the basic reason why RD on 35 raw materials has been withdrawn recently.
The situation in terms of RD on more consumer items may worsen further in the days to come. However, any raw material subjected to RD, which is pointed out by Karachi Chamber, will certainly be taken into consideration and immediately withdrawn so that the cost of production, competitiveness and exportability of industries are not af-fected”, he added while speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairmen BMG & Former Presidents Zubair Motiwala, Haroon Farooki & Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik, Senior Vice President KCCI Abdul Basit Abdul Razzak, Former Presidents Haroon Agar, Iftikhar Vohra & Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Secretary TDAP Inamullah Khan Dharejo and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present at the meeting.
Younus Dagha stated that RD is not something final which cannot be altered but the RD on consumer goods will remain intact and the situation may worsen further as enhancing exports is dearer to the Ministry of Commerce than imports. “Anyone importing consumer items should not expect any facilitation from the Ministry of Com-merce. We are willing to serve the exporters day and night which are a very clear policy of the Ministry and I am speaking very openly”, he added.
Referring to concerns expressed by Zubair Motiwala on 4 percent rebate to exporters of yarn, he agreed that it was a valid demand that this incentive should not be given to exporters of yarn and the issue has also been raised by the Ministry of Commerce. “We will try to deal with it in the next budget”, he added.
Younus Dagha assured to review and look into the possibility of implementing Trade Organizations Ordinance 2007. He advised the Karachi Chamber to challenge the registration of fake and bogus trade bodies under an exist-ing legal system at the office of DGTO, whose verdict can further be appealed at the office of Secretary Ministry of Commerce and can subsequently be challenged at the civil courts as well.
In reply to business community’s complaints against the Department of Plant Protection (DPP), Younus Dagha categorically stated that strictest action will be taken against individuals taking bribery under the SPS (Sanitary & Phytosanitary) condition.
“DPP’s job is to get the SPS conditions implemented but if they are using it to seek bribery, I stand united with the Karachi Chamber and we will lodge cases against all such elements. Nevertheless, if we are unable to control them, we will withdraw the SPS condition”, he assured.
Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, while referring to deep concerns expressed at the meeting over FBR’s discretionary powers, stated that since Ishaq Dar presented the first budget, the Karachi Chamber pointed out numerous anomalies and continued to criticize the policies and decisions taken in the budgets for subsequent years.
“Massive discretionary powers were granted to FBR officials in all these budgets and we kept raising strong voice against them but unfortunately, nobody paid any attention to KCCI’s concerns whereas all other Chambers and associations, who appreciated the budgets during initial years, have also been criticizing it since the last couple of years now”, he added.
He was of the opinion that laws, regulations and acts were devised in such a manner to empower FBR’s staff even at a lower level to harass the business and industrial community. A culture in all the Ministries and Departments at federal and provincial levels has been created in which unbridled powers have been granted to lower staff who are empowered to shut down factories and take biased decisions.
These laws and powers were not meant to increase revenue and attract new taxpayers but to create hurdles and harass the existing taxpayers. After seeing the miseries and hardships being suffered by loyal taxpayers, people prefer to stay outside the tax net, he said, adding that those contributing highest number of taxes suffer the highest number of grievances but this culture has to change now.
He said that business community itself is responsible for most of the issues because the actual representatives were unable to give their inputs due to the presence of fake and bogus trade bodies in the apex body of the country. “40 percent of trade bodies at FPCCI are fake and bogus, which were not following the rules and regulations of Minis-try of Commerce in terms of paperwork .