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Govt asked to suspend export cess

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Tuesday concluded its deliberations on Finance Bill 2021 and recommended to the government to suspend the collection of export cess for three years to minimise impact of Covid-19 on export industries.

The committee meeting chaired by Senator Talha Mahmood approved a proposal to transfer the export development funds to the ministry of commerce from the finance ministry to use it for export development projects.

Over Rs58bn export development funds are still under the control of the ministry of finance and the finance division releases a nominal amount each year for the promotion of export schemes.

Through a videolink the committee took up the proposals of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Zubair Motiwala, chairman Council of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, has again raised the issue of restoration of zero-rated status for the five export-oriented industries. He said refunds took six months in processing.

Mr Motiwala said that textile exports have increased in the current financial year but the small exporter has disappeared because of the removal of zero-rated status. However, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Asim Ahmad said that several steps were taken to address the plight of exporters.

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla also supported the proposal of restoring zero-rated status for export industries.

Senator Mohsin Aziz said duty on yarn was reduced from 15pc to 12pc. He recommended that polyester duty should also be reduced to 12pc. He said National Tariff Commission (NTC) is playing into the hands of some people. “Tell me in whose hands they are playing,” Saleem Mandviwalla inquired.

“Don’t get involved in this matter and remain silent,” Senator Mohsin advised Mr Mandviwalla.

Member Customs replied that the NTC may respond to shift in duty on yarn and polyester fibre.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue also took up Finance Bill 2021 for deliberations to make recommendations for the finance minister to include in his winding speech.

Committee chairman MNA Faiz Ullah said that for the first time the standing committee will do deliberation on the finance bill. The committee directed finance minister to appear before the committee on June 24 to answer questions of the members.

The committee in its first day meeting discussed various proposals and directed FBR and commerce ministry to make necessary changes to do away with the anomalies.

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