ISLAMABAD - Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Saturday lauded Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for clearing pending refunds of Rs23 billion and termed it a step which would encourage exporters and taxpayers.

FPCCI Regional Committee on Industries Chairman Atif Ikram Sheikh said the government had fulfilled its promise to the business community for clearing their refunds dues where Refund Payment Orders were issued until April 30, 2017. He said the PML-N government had always remained sensitive to the issues faced by the business community, which was encouraging.

He said that exports had shown growth in the first month of the current fiscal year by 10.6 percent while the payment of pending refund claims would boost external trade in the months to come. Sheikh said that tax collection had increased from Rs1,946 billion to Rs3,362 billion in last four years which indicates the hard work of the FBR team led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The government took some bold steps to eliminate tax exemptions and brought Rs323 billion into the system but a lot was yet to be done as tax potential was not less than Rs6,000 billion, he added. The business leader said that efforts were needed to reduce the size of the undocumented economy and increase the tax to GDP ratio up to 15 percent as the size of the GDP had crossed $300 billion mark.

The liquidity problem of the taxpayers had been resolved to some extent, he added and urged the government to clear all the refund claims as soon as possible. He urged for looking into the matter of increased cost of doing business which was making the exports uncompetitive in the international market. He called upon increased warmth in relations between tax authorities and taxpayers which was vital for improved revenue generation to achieved economic growth.