Zaidi not involved in issuing IFL to tobacco companies, FBR clarifies

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The Federal Board of Revenue has rebutted a media report, published on 5th August 2019, regarding issuance of Invitation for License (IFL) for ‘Electronic Monitoring Track and trace System for Tobacco Products’.

FBR has clarified that the news item is “totally baseless and allegations levelled against the FBR chairman are basically an effort to sabotage the fair and open process of licensing in order to give benefit to tax evaders and illicit traders in the tobacco industry.”

According to the FBR, “The IFL was issued under section 40C of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 and the Sales Tax Rules, 2006. The amendment in the rules was made through a notification issued on 26th Feb 2019, tilted ‘Electronic Monitoring, Tracking and Tracing of Specified Goods and Licensing Thereof’. The notification was issued much before the appointment of Syed Shabbar Zaidi as FBR chairman, as he took charge on 10th May 2019, which is two and half months after the issuance of the licensing rules, 2019.”

The FBR continued, “A consultant with international experience and credentials was also hired well before the issuance of IFL after following a transparent process.

“The IFL was published in local as well as international newspapers in order to make it more transparent and open for all the solution providers. The IFL was also placed on PPRA website and all PRRA rules are being followed in letter and spirit so that any irregularity and ambiguity can be avoided.”

It said, “After the issuance of IFL, more than 20 aspirant companies have obtained bidding/licensing documents. No company has submitted the bidding/licensing documents till date as the closing date for submission of documents is 20th Sept. Hence the question of awarding of a license to any company does not arise. Moreover, the chairman is not part of the Licence Awarding Committee.

“There is no loss of revenue to the government as reported in the news item. The FBR reserves the right to take legal action against the publication for publishing such fabricated and concocted news report.”

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