Exporters refunds again start to stuck as IRIS system not working: PRGMEA
February 24, 2022 01:28 AM
The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has expressed its disappointment at the performance of the Federal Board of Revenue's new IRIS portal -- the platform to file sale tax returns – and called for the reversal of the previous system of Fully Automated Sales Tax E-Refund (FASTER) for transparent and speedy payment of exporters’ refunds.
PRGMEA regional chairman Sheikh Luqman Amin, in a statement issued here on Wednesday, said that the FBR has launched another updated portal, claiming to pay sales tax refunds through the newly installed system to the exporters within hours of submission of claims. However, the exporters are facing lots of hardship in filing their sales tax returns to get refund. He said that IRIS system is not working because ‘annexure H’ in the system has many flaws. He voiced the fear that the government would not be able to release the sales tax refund claims regularly in the new fiscal year because amount of exporters’ liquidity has been started to stuck with the government due to faulty and defective system.
“It is unfortunate that once the export-oriented industry gets used to a software for their refunds the FBR introduces a new one without any consultation of the real stakeholders, he said and added that the previous FASTER system was working properly and industry was happy but the FBR has now launched the IRIS, apparently aimed at further improvement but actually it’s target is to block the exporters’ sales tax refunds in one way or the other.”
The IRIS system is deficient in many ways but unfortunately it was launched. It is the normal IT procedure that whenever a software is launched it has to pass through a proper test, he pointed out. “Obviously this software has not been tested properly and launched to please the higher authorities in the government. For example ‘Annex H’ which deals with inventory is not functioning properly, leading to reject all claims.”
Sheikh Luqman said that the exporters are suffering seriously, as sales tax refunds claims of Dec 2021, Jan 2022 and Feb 2022 have not been accepted, leading to stuck up of three months of exporting industry’s refunds, who are already facing severe financial crunch due to constant hike in cost of doing business in the country.
“We strongly demand the continuation of the previous FASTER system for in-time sales tax refunds of the exporters, requesting the FBR to first put the IRIS system in proper testing before its official launch, he added.
The PRGMEA regional chief urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to direct the tax agency to remove bottlenecks in the new refund payment system of the FBR, as exporters are facing a severe liquidity crunch due to delay in payment of sales tax refunds. He also demanded a mechanism to find out the reasons for not accepting sales tax returns of the exporters under IRIS system. The Automated Refund System should point out the reason as to why it is not accepting the returns while their documents are complete, he said.
He said the present situation has created unrest among member exporters. He said that timely payment of refund claims is still a major issue and needs resolution on priority.
He said that increase in exports of the country is a very important objective as far as improvement in economy of the country is concerned. He observed that it should be the utmost priority of the government to facilitate exporters in every possible way. He said that exporters are unable to procure and purchase raw materials and other accessories to fulfill their future export orders and this will ultimately collapse the entire export trade, he added. He warned that the economy can further weaken if the current financial policies are not reviewed immediately.