LAHORE: The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), the collective body of top 200 multinational companies in Pakistan, has expressed shock and dismay at the Federal Board of Revenue’s action against one of the largest taxpayers in the country.
The FBR’s Large Taxpayer Unit (LTU)-Islamabad on Wednesday had sealed the premises of Pakistan Mobile Telecommunication Limited (PMCL), widely known across the country as ‘Jazz’, within hours after serving a notice for payment of alleged tax demand.
Commenting on the development, OICCI President Haroon Rashid observed, “Without going into details of the legality of tax demand, the manner in which LTU officials handled the situation was disappointing. This blatant action is a huge setback for the government and OICCI’s joint efforts to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.”
He noted that FDI in Pakistan at less than one per cent of the GDP, against the norm of three per cent, is already the lowest in the region.
“Abrupt and unjustified action like this will go against the declared emphasis of the government towards ‘ease of doing business’, facilitating the inflow of FDI, harnessing economic growth opportunities, promoting exports, employment etc.”
As per the chamber, such action against the largest mobile operator is bound to create ripples within the foreign investors’ community operating in Pakistan, and may negatively resonate in the business chambers of 35 countries from where OICCI member companies have come to do business in Pakistan.
Haroon Rashid concluded, “Going forward, OICCI strongly urges the FBR chairman to immediately engage with the management of Jazz for an amicable solution to the matter.”