Pakistan Steel Re-rolling Mills Association has urged the Chief Minister Punjab not to lower the guard against gas and power thieves who are committing billions of rupees tax evasion. Patron Chairman of Pakistan Steel Re-rolling Mills Association Hafiz Muhammad Akbar, while appreciating the ongoing drive against power and gas pilferage, in a statement said that it was a great national service but the field formations of the Inland Revenue should asked to recover taxes worth billions of rupees from the pilferers.
Hafiz Akbar said that the Steel Re-rolling Association believes that the theft is being carried out in connivance with the authorities of the concerned department because a number of representations to gas/power authorities specifically pointing out the unregistered steel units committing power theft went unheeded.
He said that the Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa had also expressed serious concerns on the failure of field formations in recovery of income tax, sales tax and Federal Excise Duty to the tune of Rs 64 billion. The FBR should understand that in high power, gas consuming industries like steel re-rolling a theft Rs 10 million deprives the exchequer further in Rs 60 million in revenues besides marginalising tax compliant units in the same sector.
“We wonder why the FBR is not taking action against the units found stealing gas and electricity. We request the Chief Minister to take up the matter personally with Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.”
Hafiz Akbar said that there are 150 unregistered steel re-rolling mills in Daroghawala and Band Road that are operational without any let and hindrance. He said that whenever some junior officer of the sales tax or income tax department tried to catch them, was transferred to far-flung areas.
He said that in the given circumstances, it has become very difficult for the honest medium and small re-rolling millers to compete with these unscrupulous elements because the difference between the defaulters and the honest manufacturers is around Rs 15,000 per ton. Hafiz Akbar said that it is prime duty of the FBR to register all the unregistered businesses but unfortunately, they are not performing their duties honestly. He urged the Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to look into the working of the Federal Board of Revenue and if needed to initiate restructuring of this important department without any further delay.
He said that the Inland Revenue should be ordered that each commissioner be given target to bring at least hundred unregistered businesses into the tax net every year and in this way the government would be able to get new tax payers on the one hand while much needed revenue to the other. He said that presently, only honest taxpayers are being squeezed while others are going scot-free under the very nose of the authorities.