Sarhad Chamber Of Commerce Appreciates FBR For Facilitating Taxpayer-Friendly Environment

Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Asim Ahmad, met with President, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Sherbaz Bilour, here at FBR Headquarter.

President, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry appreciated FBR’s initiatives for facilitating ease of doing business for the business community, particularly with specific reference to an automated environment for issuance of refunds directly into taxpayer’s account.

During the meeting, matters pertaining to monitoring of notices sent to industries and restaurants by FBR, speedy disposal and relief from cases pending at the Legal forums were discussed. Fixed evaluation of raw materials, issuance of pending refund cases, review of Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee mechanism (ADRC), integration of various business sectors in Tier 1 and lack of SOPs regarding tax facilitation for women entrepreneurs in Chamber of Commerce and Industry also came into discussion.

Chairman FBR was assisted by FBR team comprising Chief (Customs Operations) and Chief (IR Operations). The Chairman FBR appreciated the feedback and issued on spot instructions to both Customs and IR officers to review the standard operating procedures and administratively resolve the issues immediately.

Chairman FBR, Mr. Asim Ahmad also held a meeting with the President Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry Umar Ashraf Mughal along with his delegation. The delegation appreciated efforts of Mr. Asim Ahmad for bringing about FBR’s transformation into an automated and taxpayer friendly environment.

Matters pertaining to revisiting condition of placing commercial invoice and packing list in container, mis-declaration by Steel Importers and introduction of final tax regime for ceramic industry in next budget were discussed in the meeting.

Chairman FBR assured the delegation that the issues of the business community would be resolved on priority.

 

Source: Pro Pakistani

FBR Achieves Tax Collection Target For July FY21-22

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has met the revenue collection target of July as it collected Rs. 410 billion against the target of Rs. 342 billion.

Sources told ProPakistani that the tax department has collected Rs. 135 billion Income Tax, Rs. 190 billion sales tax, Rs. 22 billion Federal Excise Duty and Rs. 63 billion Customs duties till Friday.

The tax department has surpassed its revenue collection target by Rs. 68 billion in July 2021-22, owing to a number of factors such as discouraging the policy of advance taxes, increasing the import bill, sources added.

Sources further said that FBR has also paid Rs. 20 billion refunds during the first month of the current fiscal year

It is pertinent to note that the government has set an Rs. 5,829 billion revenue target for the current fiscal year 2021-22.

The Finance Minister is hopeful that FBR can achieve the collection target of the current fiscal year by focusing on Point of sales (POS).

Sources said that the FBR is regularly sending notices to retailers who do not integrate their machines with the FBR system, besides imposing heavy fines.

 

Source: Pro Pakistani

Foreign Investors Are Confident About Pakistan’s Security Environment: OICCI Survey

The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), which is the collective body of the top 200 foreign investors in Pakistan, has released the results of its latest Annual Security survey 2021, covering feedback on the security environmen…

The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), which is the collective body of the top 200 foreign investors in Pakistan, has released the results of its latest Annual Security survey 2021, covering feedback on the security environment in the commercial centers of Pakistan.

The survey was conducted from 21 May to 21 June, and about two-thirds of the OICCI members have their head offices in Karachi with operations all over the country.

According to the 2021 OICCI Survey, the overall security environment has improved more as compared to the security situation in mid-2020, especially in Lahore (according to 61 percent of the respondents), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (59 percent respondents), the rest of the Punjab (53 percent respondents), and Karachi (51 percent). However, some members expressed concerns about the growing number of street crimes, especially in Karachi.

Commenting on the survey findings, Irfan Siddiqui, President OICCI said “the positive perception of the security environment by the leading foreign investors operating in the country, is a matter of great satisfaction and also conveys a positive message to potential investors”.

The President of the OICCI said, “The foreign investors have appreciated the continuing focus of our LEAs in improving the security environment, one of the key components for attracting FDI in the country. Security remains one of the top three concerns for 62 percent of the respondents, a marginal improvement over 70 percent respondents in the 2020 survey”.

It is highly encouraging that despite the pandemic-related travel restrictions since March 2020, the visits of foreign nationals to Pakistan for OICCI members’ business continued during the last year, albeit at a lower frequency. The foreign business visitors were mainly from China, the UK, the USA, Germany, Japan, the UAE (where several member companies’ regional headquarters are located), and other European and Asian countries.

Regarding serious crimes, 87 percent of the respondents indicated either a decrease during the last year or termed it as ‘not an issue’ in Lahore, and 75 percent of the respondents indicated either a decrease over last year or termed it as ‘not an issue’ in Karachi. Similarly, 89 percent, 75 percent, and 73 percent of the respondents indicated either a decrease during the last year or termed it as ‘not an issue’ in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Quetta, and the rest of Baluchistan.

For street crimes, 17 percent of respondents in Karachi (as compared to seven percent last year) indicated a significant increase over last year, while up to five percent of respondents in the rest of the country (in Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta, and Peshawar) indicated a significant increase.

In conclusion, the CEO and Secretary-General of the OICCI, M. Abdul Aleem, observed that the OICCI is “encouraged with the continuing improvement in the overall security assessment of the foreign investors, which will help in further boosting potential FDI in Pakistan. Going forward, we are confident that the Law Enforcement Agencies will soon be able to also control the recent spike in street crimes and will further reinforce the positive security environment in the country”.

The OICCI 2021 Security survey was responded to by over two-thirds of the over 200 members, and the survey respondents included CEOs and senior management of member organizations. This security survey has been conducted annually since 2015.

Source: Pro Pakistani

PM Directs All Divisions to Monitor Health Card Program

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting to review progress on providing quality health services to the citizens through Health Cards.The meeting was given a detailed briefing on the provision of health cards in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the nu…

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting to review progress on providing quality health services to the citizens through Health Cards.

The meeting was given a detailed briefing on the provision of health cards in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the number of beneficiaries and the expenditure incurred on this program so far and the resulting relief to the people.

The meeting was informed that through the Health Facility Card Program in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, millions of people have benefited. 210,200 patients were admitted in various public and private hospitals using health cards, and an amount of Rs. 5.3 billion has been spent so far on treatment.

The meeting was informed that the health card is being used to ensure the provision of quality services to people with 26 different diseases. These also include diseases of the heart and others, the treatment of which is more expensive and beyond the financial resources of poor families.

The Prime Minister directed the Federal and Provincial Governments and State Life Insurance Company to set up special units for monitoring the implementation of the Health Card Program and to resolve issues immediately.

The meeting was informed that health card facility has been provided to 8.5 million families in Punjab province so far.

Expressing satisfaction over the relief available to the people through the Health Facility Card, the Prime Minister said that the present program of providing quality health services is the largest and historic program in the history of the country. He said that for the first time, the present government has launched a comprehensive program realizing the problems faced by the poor for health services. Due to this initiative, not only public but also private hospitals are providing quality healthcare to the poor and deserving.

The Prime Minister said that a new system is being created in the health sector after the introduction of the Health Card facility. The current program will promote private sector hospitals and enable them to provide their services in rural and remote areas.

In order to increase the benefit of Health Cards, the Prime Minister directed the concerned authorities to promote the program with the help of the Ministry of Information so that citizens acquire more awareness about the program and its benefits.

The meeting was attended by Special Assistant for Health Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant Dr. Shahbaz Gill, Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmeen Rashid, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Federal and Provincial Secretaries of Health Department and other senior officials.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Askari Bank Appoints Renowned Banker Atif Bokhari as CEO and President

Askari Bank Limited’s Board of Directors has appointed Atif Bokhari — a highly experienced and renowned official of the banking sector — to lead it to achieve new goals.According to the official notification issued to Pakistan Stock Exchange, Askari Ba…

Askari Bank Limited’s Board of Directors has appointed Atif Bokhari — a highly experienced and renowned official of the banking sector — to lead it to achieve new goals.

According to the official notification issued to Pakistan Stock Exchange, Askari Bank has appointed Bokhari as the CEO and President, and he will take charge from 1 September 2021 for a period of three years.

Bokhari is a career banker with 32 years of experience in domestic and international banking. He had served as the President and CEO of United Bank Limited for more than a decade, and during his tenure, the bank had continuous expansions and sustainable financial performance.

He had led the NIB Bank as its top banker from 2015 to 2017 and had played a pivotal role in its amalgamation and merging with MCB Bank. After that, he, along with two large business groups in Pakistan, had formed the first private sector housing finance company.

Bokhari has also worked as the Director of the State Bank of Pakistan Board and a Member of the Monetary Policy Committee. In his last assignment, he worked briefly for the government as the State Minister and the Chairman of the Board of Investment for a year and four months. However, he did not continue with these responsibilities and rejoined the banking sector.

Bokhari’s appointment as the CEO and President of Askari Bank Limited is subject to the formal approval of the regulator. Meanwhile, the board has assigned the temporary charge of the CEO and President to Khurshid Zafar, who is also the COO of the bank. Zafar will take over his assignment from the transition period until the new president joins in September.

Abid Sattar to Leave Askari Bank Limited

The outgoing CEO and President of Askari Bank, Abid Sattar, will complete his successful tenure on 8 August, replete with outstanding accomplishments and valuable experience.

The Board of Directors did not retain him as the President and CEO of the bank for the next tenure despite his significant services but appreciated his role in leading the bank. Sattar’s age could be a factor for the discontinuation of his services — a fact that could not be ruled out as per the rules and regulations of the banking sector.

Sattar’s career in the banking sector spans 38 years. He was appointed as the top banker at Askari Bank in 2018 and had led it to become profitable and progressive, which had placed it among the top 10 most profitable banks of the country. From 2018 to 2020, the bank’s profitability had surged from Rs. 4.4 billion to a level of Rs. 10.8 billion.

During Sattar’s term, Askari Bank had expanded its services in different dimensions, including Islamic banking under the brand name ‘Ikhlaas’.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Debt-Recapitalization And Refinancing Scheme For NPPMCL Discussed

The transaction committee meeting for the privatization of National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL) was held under the chairmanship of Federal Minister Mohammedmian Soomro in Islamabad.The transaction committee discussed the debt recapi…

The transaction committee meeting for the privatization of National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL) was held under the chairmanship of Federal Minister Mohammedmian Soomro in Islamabad.

The transaction committee discussed the debt recapitalization/refinancing of NPPMCL from the local commercial banks. The transaction committee agreed upon the scheme for local financing ahead of the equity process in the transaction of NPPMCL.

Federal Secretary Privatisation, Chairman NEPRA, MD PPIB, representatives of Power, Finance, Petroleum, and Financial Advisors also attended the meeting.

Federal Minister said that our focus is to strictly follow the guidelines for timely completion of the transaction.

This is the first of its kind transaction which involves re-financing of GoP excess equity and loan besides equity sale.

Source: Pro Pakistani

FBR Authorizes Skardu Airport to Perform Customs Duties

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) issued an SRO950 (I)/2021 on Wednesday, allowing Skardu Airport to deal with the loading and unloading of goods.The airport authorities will now have the authority to handle imports and exports, and passengers’ baggag…

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) issued an SRO950 (I)/2021 on Wednesday, allowing Skardu Airport to deal with the loading and unloading of goods.

The airport authorities will now have the authority to handle imports and exports, and passengers’ baggage that move through the airport.

The notification detailed that the FBR had approved proper places in Skardu Airport, exercising the powers conferred by clauses (a) and (b) of Section 10 of the Customs Act, 1969.

A designated area of 2,138 kanals and 16 marlas as per the Master Plan of Skardu Airport provided by the Civil Aviation Authority has been allotted in the notification for the loading and unloading of only such goods or classes of goods as specified for the purposes of the Customs Act.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Govt Sets 4G Spectrum Auction Prices for AJK and GB

The government has set a base price of $31 million and $29 million for the spectrum auction in 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands, respectively, for Pakistan, and $0.87 million for Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB), which will be held b…

The government has set a base price of $31 million and $29 million for the spectrum auction in 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands, respectively, for Pakistan, and $0.87 million for Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB), which will be held by end September 2021.

The policy directive for the auction of next-generation mobile services (NGMS), revealed that additionally 2×10 MHz spectrum earmarked by Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) for Special Communication Organization (SCO) in both 1800 and 2100 MHz bands is approved for assignment to SCO.

The policy directive prepared for auction in Pakistan states that the federal government in exercise of powers conferred under Section 8(2) of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (Re-organization) Act 1996 (Amended 2006), hereby issues the following policy directive for auctioning the available radio frequency spectrum in 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands for compliance by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority:

• A transparent, competitive process shall be formulated by the PTA for auctioning 12.8 MHz paired spectrum in the 1800 MHz band, and 15 MHz paired spectrum in the 2100 MHz.

• PTA shall issue an Information Memorandum specifying therein the detailed procedure of the auction, including eligibility criteria and steps for participating in the auction process. The auction shall accordingly be conducted by PTA in minimum possible time after issuance of Policy Directive by the federal government.

• The spectrum assignment shall be “technology Neutral” and usable for all existing and upcoming advanced generations/technologies within the applicable policy framework of the government.

• to ensure optimal utilization of radio frequency spectrum, PTA shall endeavor to provide each CMO with the opportunity to acquire such additional spectrum that will enable it to hold, in total, spectrum in multiples of standard 5MHz paired spectrum blocks.

• Post spectrum auction, all CMOs shall be required, within a reasonable time as determined by the PTA to comply with the rationalization plan as may be issued by the PTA in consultation with FAB to ensure the optimal utilization of contagious spectrum holdings in 1800 MHz band.

• The base price for the 2×1 MHz (1 MHz paired) spectrum in 1800 MHz is $31 million while the base price for the 2×1 MHz (1 MHz paired) spectrum in 2100 MHz is $29 million respectively.

• Existing CMOs and new entrants are eligible to participate in this auction subject to a spectrum cap of 40 percent in the complete 1800 MHz band.

• Transactions related to spectrum auction, i.e., spectrum fee and related markup shall be US dollar-denominated. However, the amount shall be paid either in US dollars or in equivalent Pak Rupees.

For conversion, the National Bank of Pakistan TT selling rate prevailing on the date preceding the date of payment shall be used.

i. Payment terms shall be as under:

Full upfront payment (100 percent) or minimum 50 percent upfront payment while the remaining to be paid in 5 equal installments in 5 years with cumulative markup rate of one year LIBOR+3 percent.

Moreover, if the auction winner intends to pay the remaining balance liability on account of the initial spectrum fee at any time before the end of 5 years, it would be acceptable and without any pre-payment penalties. However, markup at the rate LIBOR+3 percent shall be payable on the balance amount till the date the final payment is made.

A new license shall be issued to the successful bidder for the auctioned spectrum. The tenure of frequency assignment shall be 15 years.

According to the policy directive for the auction of NGMS spectrum in AJK and GB:

(a) A transparent, competitive process shall be formulated by the PTA for auctioning 2 x 16 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz band and 2 x 30 MHz spectrum in the 2100 MHz as made available by the FAB.

(b) The base price for 2×1 MHz (1 MHz paired) spectrum in both I800 and 2100 MHz bands is $0.87 million, respectively.

(c) Additionally, 2 x 10 MHz spectrum earmarked by FAB for SCO in both 1800 and 2100 MHz bands is approved for assignment to SCO.

(d) The spectrum assignment will be ”Technology Neutral” and usable for all existing and upcoming advanced generations/technologies within the applicable policy framework of the government of Pakistan.

(e) Payment terms shall be as under:

i. minimum 50 percent upfront payment within one month of auction date while the remaining to be paid in 10 equal installments in 10 years.

Moreover, if the auction winner intends to pay the remaining balance liability on account of the initial spectrum fee at any time before the end of 10 years, it would be acceptable and without any pre-payment penalties.

The PTA shall transfer auction proceeds to the AJK and GB Councils less the administrative charges, cost of regulation, and consultancy charges within 30 x days from the receipt of said fee. The tenure of frequency assignment will be for 15 years.

Spectrum won under auction process will be incorporated by PTA in the renewed cellular licenses (due for renewal in June 2021, i.e., Jazz, Telenor, and Ufone).

However, to align the expiry dates of cellular licenses in AJ&K and GB, the tenure may be accordingly adjusted by PTA for the CMP PAK license, which is due for expiry in August 2022, with necessary payments and adjustments.

Provisions for Active infrastructure sharing, Spectrum Trading, and Sharing will be incorporated in the new licenses and will take effect as per the approved regulatory framework.

Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Syed Amin ul Haque, said that all has been set for the auction of additional spectrum in Pakistan, AJK, and GB and issued necessary instructions to PTA to finalize the preparations for the auction and other matters.

Haque said that for the first time in the history of the country, an additional spectrum would be auctioned for AJK and GB. After the completion of this phase, not only in suburban and urban areas of the country, the quality of mobile networking and broadband services will also be enhanced in the hilly regions of GB, and customers will have uninterrupted services.

He hoped that billions of rupees will be deposited in the national treasury through the auction of additional spectrum.

The Federal Minister for IT said that after approval from the Federal Cabinet, the auction process would be completed by the end of September. In this regard, he issued necessary instructions to PTA to finalize the preparations for the auction and other matters.

Source: Pro Pakistani