Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Barrister Shahzad Akbar has said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has completed a five-year tax audit of 69 sugar mills and that they had been slapped with a tax of about Rs588 billion as well as a fine of Rs42 billion for cartelisation.
Addressing a news conference here on Saturday, the adviser pointed out that 10 of these mills have taken stays from different high courts against the tax audit.
He said the audit has contributed to doubling the tax revenue from sugar mills during the last fiscal year (FY21).
He said that he would submit an answer in the National Assembly (NA) as well on the question raised by fellow members on the sugar commission. He said these inquiries against sugar mills were held on merit by competent officers and there was no political involvement.
Akbar said that a track and trace system will be installed in sugar mills before the next crushing season in order to determine their actual production and avoid tax evasion.
Commenting on last year’s fuel crisis, he said that an inquiry was also conducted into the shortage of petroleum products last year and a fine was imposed on the oil marketing companies involved in the shortage of petroleum products. The adviser said that 2,000 illegal petrol stations have been shut down, which resulted in an increase in the sale of Pakistan State Oil (PSO), the state-owned oil marketing company. The federal cabinet has given open permission to the FIA for recovery in this matter, he said.
Akbar reiterated, “Transparent inquiry into the scandal is required for fair accountability.” He claimed that the prices of petroleum products are linked with the international market.
Talking about the Broadsheet inquiry commission headed by Justice (retd) Azmat Saeed, he said the government paid Rs40 billion to the Broadsheet. He said that from 2009 to 2018 the then government did not fight the case properly. The commission is now investigating the matter, he added.
The government has launched a crackdown on sugar mills over the price of the commodity.
On Friday last, the prime minister had ordered action against millers and hoarders over the hike in the price of sugar.
Chairing a review meeting on the selling price and hoarding of sugar, the premier had also ordered ensuring the implementation of the track and trace system of mills to ascertain the production volume of the commodity. “The government will take strict action against profiteers, who are enemies of the poor masses,” PM Imran had remarked.