PRAL abruptly changes online system, importers face hardships

Sameer Nazir Siyal
KARACHI: Importers and several business houses are facing unnecessary hurdles in getting adjustment of sales tax since July 2013 when the abrupt revision of PRAL system was enforced; this was stated by Ismail Suttar, President Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Vice President, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). Suttar while urging the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to immediately take up the matter with Pakistan Revenue Automation (Pvt.) Ltd (PRAL) to update the automated revenue service in order to remove the difficulties of the manufacturing industries to get the adjustment of Sales Tax they have paid on the import stage.

LCCI Chief also urged the FBR not to make abrupt and arbitrary changes in PRAL System for manufacturing industries, without knowing its consequences in order to cover its own weaknesses in enhancing the revenue collection.

The LCCI chief has further mentioned that many industries have to pay customs duty, income tax and sales tax on manual challans at import stage due the limitations of automated system. These payments are received by the customs authorities after due vetting and clearance of goods at import stage. However, the same are not being allowed to be adjusted in the system which is usually done in the monthly sales tax returns filed by the industries.

He added that a similar issue was faced by the industry regarding the FED adjustment on oil imports. The industry had to run pillar to post to get that adjusted. After many months of efforts, FBR allowed it for the industry. However, the system was not upgraded to allow all industries to claim the rightful adjustments and therefore many industries are suffering from the inefficiency and indecision of FBR authorities.

Suttar was very much concerned about this state of affairs that during these days of economic hardship and slow economic growth, the FBR is not able to facilitate the manufacturing industrial sector which is the engine of economic growth. The manufacturing industrial sector not only contributes positively for economic growth but also provides employment a large number of people. It is not desirable that this sector has to suffer and make appeals to the authorities for claiming the tax adjustments. This situation conveys a negative message for the industrial development in the country.

He said that it is a matter of great concern that the affected persons have been communicating with the relevant RTOs, PRAL, and Customs authorities regarding the issue, who agree that this should be done but none of the agencies are taking necessary steps to update the system.

Keeping in view the importance and urgency of the matter, the LCCI Chief urged the Inland Revenue department of FBR and the PRAL to work together in order to find a solution to resolve the problems in getting the sales tax adjustments by the manufacturing industrial sector, who are being penalized for no reason.

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