Reap demands single tax

KARACHI: Rice exporters have urged the government to collect all taxes and levies under withholding tax as full and final liability, instead of imposing different levies on them.“Rice exporters do not want to interact with various taxes and levies collections departments and instead wanted to pay all taxes in withholding which is deductible, at source, from the export proceeds by the collecting banks”, said the acting chairman REAP Abdul Ahad Tareen, former chairman REAP Rahim Janoo and Safdar Kehkari while addressing a press conference here Saturday.They said that the association has been trying to approach the Finance Minister and chairman FBR, but they are not giving them time for a meeting. “We, from the second highest export sector of Pakistan wanted to explain our point of view to the tax managers and we should be given time”, they noted.

Janoo said that “rice export is in crisis” these days due to various new developments and there are fears that export target of $ 3 billion could be missed this year if issues are not addressed on urgent basis.Tareen said that rice exporters wanted to pay the tax but the recently introduced procedures are making it difficult. Mehkari said the SRO of December 31, 2010 has created problems for rice exporters and the government should have taken the stakholders on board before making this decision. He said that the levies of EOBI, Market Committee and Workers Welfare Fund should have been collected in the withholding tax, like in the case of raw skins, to ensure that exporters do not get interacted with the officials of these institutions and instead concentrate on exports growth.He said that rice exporters are paying a 1 percent withholding tax and the total collection for these levies would be about 0.1 percent and the government can collect a 1.1pc withholding tax from rice exporters.Fawad Gharib said that Port Qasim authorities were not providing a berth to a ship MV Nabuka which has arrived on March 15, to lift abulk consignment of rice.He said that the shippers of the consignment have issued a notice to nine rice exporters to pay $ 20,000 per day till such time the ship is berthed.