PESHAWAR: Former Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Dr. Ashfaq has issued new CGOs [Customs General Orders] before his transfer, reducing the import quota for industries in tribal districts.
Under the order crude imports of ghee, steel and plastic industries in tribal districts and former provincial administered Tribal areas (PATA) have reduced which led to increase in the price of these commodities.
Chairman FBR Dr. Ashfaq issued Sales Tax General Order No.14 of 2022 on April 16, 2022 and directed reduction in import of raw materials for the industry of FATA and PATA, which led to increase in prices of ghee, steel and plastic products.
Currently, more than one thousand raw material vehicles are parked at Adzakhel dry port as the clearance process has been stopped, creating further problems for industrialists in tribal areas.
As soon as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took over the charge, FBR Chairman Dr. Ashfaq was transferred but before leaving the office, he issued CGOs which affected the industrial productivity in merged districts, leading to higher unemployment.
Industry owners of FATA and PATA demanded PM Sharif to declare the CGOs issued by Dr. Ashfaq illegal and fulfill the promise of sales tax and income tax exemptions for industries in backward areas, including FATA and PATA till June 2023. The industrialists said the tribal districts are already facing difficulties due to distance from the sea and unavailability of infrastructure.
In this regard, the top officials of FBR Regional Office Peshawar have claimed that the industries of the tribal districts are importing more duty free items which are required due to which CGOs were issued.
Industrialists of Malakand, Khyber, Mohmand, Swat and Dir have also challenged the FBR’s CGOs, saying that relief provided by the federal government cannot be withdrawn on FBR order.