FAISALABAD - The Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has lauded the disbursement of drawback of taxes allowed under the prime minister's trade enhancement initiatives and termed it a positive move of the government towards exports promotion.

PTEA Chairman Ajmal Farooq urged the government to implement zero rating regime in true spirit in budget 2017-18 as billions of rupees of exporters are still stuck up in refund regime. Zero rating facility was reinstated in July 2016 in order to save the exporters from liquidity crunch; however some vested interests are out to sabotage the government's efforts with their ulterior motives, he added.

He further said that billions of rupees have stuck up in refund cycle and they were unable to meet their financial needs. Over Rs40 billion of textile exporters are held in sales tax refund regime; whereas incentives of over Rs200 billion under textile policies are still unpaid. Giving details, he said that Rs10,300 million are outstanding under Export Finance Mark-up Support scheme, Rs1,500 million under Mark-up Rate Support against LTF, Rs19,405 million under Technology Up-gradation Fund, Rs434 million under Reimbursement of EOBI & Social Security Contribution of Women and Handicapped Employees of Textile Industry. Similarly, under drawback of local taxes and levies (DLTL), Rs7,431 million for 2009-11, Rs700 million for 2013-14 and Rs2.5 billion for 2014-15 are still unpaid, he added.

Reacting over the baseless arguments that volume of claims remain same in first nine months of current fiscal after reinstatement of zero rating, he said that exporters are deprived of their working capital since long as the process to get refunds is so lengthy and cumbersome that takes months for exporters to get their own money refunded and exporters are bearing huge financial cost on their own hard earned stuck-up money.

He said that refund claims of goods exported 12 months earlier are still unpaid. The government, at several times, set deadlines of liquidating the long outstanding refunds of the textile industry but each time could not meet the deadline, he added. In addition, FBR has rolled back all sales tax refund payment orders (RPO) considering unnecessary objections which adding the miseries of exporters.

Zero rating regime was allowed after proper diligence and comprehensive research of procedural hassles and complications of refund regime, he said. Whole exercise of first collecting tax and then refunding the same was an exercise in futility involving wastage of time and energy and was also corruption prone, he added.

PTEA's Group Leader Ahmad Kamal was of the view that export industry is the life line of economy and continuous drop in exports would spell an amount of trouble for the economy, especially considering that the trade deficit is continuing to widen. Giving details, he said that the country's trade deficit has widened to a record high of $23.38 billion during the nine months of the ongoing fiscal year with $6.5 billion higher than the deficit recorded in the comparative period of the previous year.

PTEA's Vice Chairman Muhammad Naeem said that delay in release of huge funds that runs into billions had triggered serious liquidity crunch for cash starved textile exporters and manufacturers. He stressed for implementation of zero rating regime in true spirit to avoid exporters from cash flow crunch.