LAHORE - Pakistan Industrial & Traders Associations Front (PIAF) Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has urged the government to take notice of the delaying tactics allegedly used by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to deprive taxpayers of early refunds.

In a joint statement issued here on Saturday, Sheikh reminded the finance minister that tax refunds of industrialists from all over Pakistan amounted to Rs300 billion, and asked him to play his role in removing grievances of the taxpayers.

He said that despite the government’s claim of having surplus gas, the industry in Punjab was still facing loadshedding and low gas pressure. “It’s the duty of the government to provide relief to the people, particularly to the business community,” he asserted.

He lamented that Rs42 billion of textile exporters in refunds had been held up by the FBR on one pretext or the other. “This is despite the fact that both Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and the FBR chairman have committed publicly to streamline the refund system to ensure the release through banking channels in one month,” he regretted.

The PIAF chairman alleged the FBR was not releasing the amount to hide its inefficiencies and inability to collect the targeted amount of taxes. “Since the release of refunds will reduce the size of their collection at the end of this year, senior FBR officials have chosen to punish the industry for their own incompetence,” he added.

He said that delays in the release of refunds had caused severe liquidity crunch for the small to medium sized exporters, who had 25-40 per cent of their liquidity stuck in refunds with the FBR.