LAHORE - Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has urged the government to ensure early and timely payment of stuck-up refund claims of the export-oriented sectors worth Rs 250 billion. He further contended that customs rebate claims of approximately Rs50 billion are also pending with FBR, whereas sales tax refund claims including deferred claims total approximately Rs200 billion.

PIAF chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh in a statement along with senior vice chairman Tanveer Sufi and vice chairman Shahzeb Akram said that the businessmen were bearing huge financial costs on their own hard earned stuck-up money; therefore, the FBR chairman should look into the matter and ensure early release of sales tax and income tax refunds.

The PIAF appreciates for paying sales tax refunds of Rs26 billion of ROPs up to April 2017 through the electronic system; and clearing sales tax refunds of over Rs15 billion of ROPs issued up to August 2017.

He revealed that after the payment of limited amount in 2017 now pending amount includes Rs 40 billion sales tax refund claims, Rs 10 billion customs duty rebate and Rs 5 billion Duty Drawback of Local Taxes (DLTL) and Rs 20 billion is yet to be paid to the exporters under the Prime Minister’s incentive package for exporters.

These are verified refund claims, but if the deferred claims are included in the pending amount, total figure of pending refund claims would be around Rs150 billion. He further said that the government has so far released Rs 16.5 billion out of the Rs46 billion PM export incentive package announced in October.

The association's members have now started feeling the pinch as they were already facing troubles and experiencing toughest times because of multiple internal and external challenges, he said.

He urged the Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan to take notice of the situation and issue directions to the FBR authorities to expedite stuck-up sales tax and income tax refund claims. He said the authorities concerned should take realistic view of the matter and allow the refunds of sales tax and Income Tax to exporters and manufacturers at the earliest, who were facing severe hardships.