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Relief to commercial exporters promised: CBR agrees to extend SRO 575 date to June 30

FAISALABAD (January 28 2003) : The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has agreed to further amend SRO-575(1)12002 allowing refund claims of commercial exporters for exports up to June 30, 2003, under Refund Rules 2000, providing a big relief to the commercial exporters who were groaning under 'same state' condition.

This relaxation was allowed by CBR in a meeting with a delegation of All Pakistan Cloth Exporters Association (Apcea).

Khurram Iftikhar, Chairman, Apcea, briefing Association members here on Monday, said that ever since the promulgation of new refund rules (SRO 575(1)12002 dated 31.8.2002) with cut-off date as December 31, 2002, for filing of refund claims, huge amounts of exporters were blocked and the commercial exporters were confronted with acute liquidity crunch.

The matter had been broached at various fora but had remained inconclusive so far.

Consequently, the Apcea delegation took up the matter with CBR Chairman on top priority basis and were able to convince the authorities of the seriousness of the problem, the discontentment, unrest and disappointment prevailing among the commercial exporters and resultant negative impact developing on the exporters of textiles from the country.

The CBR authorities realised the gravity of the problem and have not only extended the period for filing of refund claims but have also allowed refund on exports to be made up to June 30 2003, which will be filed by commercial exporters.

He said that this was a singular success achieved by Apcea for commercial exporters.

Yet another relaxation allowed by the CBR is regarding the condition of submitting Bank Credit Advice (BCA) for exporters.

Earlier, submission of BCA was mandatory for filing of refund claim but now not only the refund claim can be filed without BCA, also refund would be issued against submission of bank guarantee for the same amount, he said.

This again is a big achievement and relaxation claimed the Apcea chief.

MANUFACTURING WASTAGE: Regarding the problems of manufacturing wastage, the CBR Chairman constituted a four-member committee comprising Member Sales Tax, CBR and three representatives from Apcea ie Khurram Iftikhar, Mushtaq Ali Cheema, and Mohammad Latif.

This committee will meet in the second week of February and work out the details of wastage in the manufacturing process permissible for exporters.

The committee would also take into consideration the ground covered so far by chief of export (Textiles) Mohammad Ashraf Khan in this regard.

Khurram, making presentation by visual slides projection before the CBR officials, highlighted the problems of sales tax being faced by the exporters.

He said that the condition of 'same state' goods exports was heavily affecting the exports of textiles as the commercial exporters who constitute substantial part of total exporters and have a major share in total exports of the country are unable to claim their refunds.

He said that proposals of de-registration and constituting a separate company were not practicable under the existing, rules and regulations as well as the business practices in the country.

The CBR authorities emphasised that the exporters should avail the facility of depositing tax himself on behalf of supplier and getting the refund after export.

This was the only feasible the way out under the present circumstances, said Member, Sales Tax.

Regarding the amendment in Section 73 in Sales Tax Act, consensus was arrived at that any change in this respect would need vetting from the Law Department as it was beyond the ken of the CBR to amend the law by itself.

The CBR chairman assured the delegation that the ease for extending the period under Section 73 from present 120 days to 180 days would be strongly recommended to Finance Ministry and since it was a genuine point, it was positively expected that the same would be allowed by Finance Ministry and the legal provision would be suitably amended according to the expectations of the exporters.

The CBR authorities assured the Apcea delegation that the exporters' problems would be addressed on priority basis and every effort would be made to ease the difficulties faced by exporters by removing technical and procedural hurdles.

The Apcea chairman expressed hope that, with these improvements in the rules, the exports of the country would reflect better performance.

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