LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Tuesday urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to immediately stop registering cases against businessmen who are spending all their energies to put economy back on track.
LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah, Senior Vice President Nasir Hameed Khan and Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry were talking to a group industrialists and traders here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The LCCI President said that it is time to make joint efforts to keep the wheel of economy moving. “The Federal Board of Revenue should not treat business community like criminals and stop registration of cases as this act is creating harassment among the business community.”
Mian Tariq Misbah said that the business community is the major source of revenue for the government but the Federal Board of Revenue is using coercive tactics against them.
The LCCI Senior Vice President Nasir Hameed Khan and Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry said that it would have been better if the Chambers of Commerce and sector-specific associations were taken into confidence before initiating such an action that is creating bad impression of the country. “Unfortunately the Chambers were also not taken into confidence.” They said that Federal Board of Revenue would not be able to meet its revenue target set for the year 20-21 if anti-business measures like registration of cases against the business community.
They appealed to the Prime Minister Imran Khan to intervene into the matter and help stop the FBR from this practice that is pushing the tax payers to the wall besides denting the reputation of the government.
They said that the Federal Board of Revenue was constituted to facilitate the businessmen but it is presently doing the other way round.
The LCCI office-bearers said that these acts of the Federal Board of Revenue are not only defaming the government but also vitiating the business atmosphere in the province of Punjab. They said that it is unfortunate that the FBR is not releasing what it owes to the business community but creating troubles for the businessmen for the recovery of its outstanding dues just to meet the revenue targets and for the sake to show its performance.
He said that initiating criminal proceedings by LTO Lahore against major reputed companies even without confronting them or issuing show-cause notices is contrary to the principles of natural justice and amounts to gross harassment of leading taxpayers.
They said that it was very painful to name and shame all Directors of the mills by nominating them in the FIR without even conducting a meaningful inquiry and in the absence of any incriminating evidence.
They stressed that in case any agency of FBR finds any lapse in the compliance of tax laws, it should serve proper show cause notice upon the alleged taxpayer and no criminal proceedings should be initiated against any such person unless and until the case has stood scrutiny and test of an impartial judicial forum. They offered the services of LCCI to FBR in conducting any meaningful inquiry against tax evaders, he added.
They expressed the hope that the Federal government would take stock of the situation and issue necessary directions to FBR for immediate withdrawal of FIRs in the larger interest of the business environment in the country and fostering of exports.