KARACHI (APP) - The Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF) has claimed that sales tax refund claims worth approximately Rs 12 billion were stuck-up at the Regional Tax Office (RTO). PAF Chairman Jawed Bilwani claimed here Saturday that fresh and old claims have accumulated with RTO due to improper handling of refund claim cases for the RTO. He said that it was ten months now that the Sales Tax Collectorate merged with the RTO and still the most important task of transfer of files and records from the previous collectorate to RTO has not been completed. Bilwani expressed his surprise at the gross inefficiency of the Regional Tax Office which could not carry on such an important task of transfer of files and records relating to exporters pending Sales Tax Refund Claims. The PAF chairman said that genuine Sales Tax Refund Claims have been inordinately held up for long period of time which has compelled the exporters to go abroad. Referring to the exports by other countries, he said statistics prove that in the last 5 to 8 years Chinas exports increased by 584%; Indias by 214%; Bangladesh by 200% while a small country, Vietnam has increased its export by 156%. As compared to them, Pakistan which is a cotton growing country lags far behind with its exports increasing only by miserable 35 percent, he added. He appealed the federal government take steps and solve the problems of the value added textile exporters by expediting the payment of refund claims.