Finance Ministry removes FBR’s SRO 351

Minister says all discriminatory SROs to be abolished in three years

ISLAMABAD – The Ministry of Finance Affairs on Saturday withdrew Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)’s controversial SRO 351 of 2014, following immense pressure by traders and chambers of commerce and industry across the country, who after refusing it warned to initiate a series of countrywide protests on the issue.

Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Senator Ishaq Dar was presiding over a meeting of the Tax Advisory Council comprising all stakeholders including chartered accountants, academia, senior tax consultants, retired senior officers, industrialists, presidents of FPCCI, four provincial chambers and professional associations including ICAP, ICMA, Tax Bar president, SECP, Pakistan Banking Association, KSE, LSE and ISE with the FBR officials for consultation on budget-related proposals to be incorporated in the financial year 2014-15 here at the FBR.

The minister said that the economic recovery was the top priority of the government and with the introduction of reforms during the last 10 months the economy has been put on the right direction. With the hard work, commitment and dedication, all the economic indicators were on the upward trajectory, he added.

During the sitting when traders and various chamber’s representatives lodged their strong protest on the issue it participants of the meeting were informed that FBR issued the particular discriminatory SRO without approval from the ministry concerned and the decision was devastating for the business community.

To this, the minister informed the traders that he suspended implementation of SRO 351 of 2014 from today (Saturday), which was issued by FBR without his approval and was unfair in its spirit. He informed the traders that all discriminatory SROs would be abolished in a period of three years and all the stakeholders are working together in this regard.

Dar emphasised on formulation of realistic proposals aimed at ensuring growth in the economy and revenue generation enabling the government for appropriate allocation in development sector and social safety net. “We believe in consulting all stakeholders including chambers, trade bodies, exporters and importers and the representatives of the industries in the process of budget making,” he said.

The business representatives discussed in detail their issues and recommendations. They appreciated the work being done by the Finance Ministry and FBR for SROs rationalization. The trade representatives appreciated minister’s sincerity, headwork and dedication for the uplift of country. The traders also appreciated minister’s personal interest in sales tax refunds up to rupees one million.

There was a general sense of satisfaction on the economic policies of the government and expectations that strengthening of rupee will bring positive impact on the country. Earlier, Senator Dar mentioned that transparency, merit, openness and good governance remained hallmark of the government and resolved to make every effort possible to facilitate the traders on their reasonable demands while keeping in mind the national interest for taking the country forward on way to development.

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