Finance Minister Inaugurates FBR’s Track & Trace System in PTC Jhelum Factory

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, inaugurated the much-awaited Track & Trace System (TTS) of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) at the Pakistan Tobacco Company’s (PTC) factory in Jhelum on Friday.

The special ceremony was attended by Chairman FBR, Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, along with Qaiser Iqbal, Member (Inland Revenue, Operations) and Tariq Sheikh, Project Director (TTS), in the presence of CEO PTC, Ali Khan.

Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue congratulated FBR for rolling out this significant project which would help prevent leakage of revenue, under-reporting of production and sales of tobacco products, and ensure proper payment of Federal Excise Duty and Sales Tax on manufacturing and sale of the products.

“TTS is a very comprehensive and robust electronic monitoring system, which is a paradigm shift from the conventional physical monitoring system. It is believed that installation of TTS in the notified sectors would be a game-changer for improving revenue and curbing counterfeit products in the market,” the minister underlined.

Appreciating FBR for embarking upon the system, Tarin said it was heartening that FBR successfully issued a license to and, subsequently, signed a contract with AJCL/Mittas/Authentix Consortium for installation of TTS on March 5, 2021.

TTS is to be developed, operated, and maintained by the licensee for notified sectors including tobacco products manufactured in and imported into Pakistan. For this purpose, FBR has been striving hard to implement the system for the last 12 years. Unfortunately, FBR faced five unsuccessful attempts. However, in its sixth attempt, FBR has procured one of the best systems available after strenuous efforts of over a decade.

The Finance Minister stated, “Our prime objective is to take the tax-to-GDP ratio, which currently stands at 8-12%, to 20% in the coming years. He surmised that tax evasion of Rs. 70 billion was being done in the tobacco sector, making 37% of the market share”. He said the Economic Advisory Council was directed to identify more sectors where TTS could be installed to increase revenue.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman FBR, Dr. Ahmed, highlighted features of the TTS project. He stated that the electronic monitoring of common-use products, right from the entry-point into the supply chain, i,e, the production or import till the exit-point and the purchase by end-consumer – broadly referred to as TTS – was being viewed as a watershed development in maximizing revenue potential in the notified sectors.

“TTS entails the application of Unique Identification Marks (UIMs) or Tax Stamps carrying covert, semi-covert, overt, forensic and digital features enabling electronic traceability of goods across the supply chain,” the Chairman FBR underscored. He maintained that the UIMs applied on industrial products would help identify, isolate, and curb the production, supply, and movement of untaxed, counterfeit, and smuggled goods thereby strengthening governance and rule of law in Pakistan. “At present, TTS is used in over 80 countries to apply about 10 trillion UIMs on various products, across the globe,” he said.

He reaffirmed that this system would be further strengthened by vigilant, efficient, and fully-equipped Inland Revenue Enforcement Network (IREN) and the federal government had already allocated Rs. 435 million for purchase of vehicles, state-of-the-art equipment, and the latest technology-driven gadgets for the Enforcement Network.

“The IREN will be able to combat evasion and leakages of taxes and duties payable on notified goods, through the Enforcement Squads that shall patrol the designated routes on which specified goods are moving and check a vehicle or any place of storage, wherein reportedly such specified goods are being transported, stored or kept,” he explained. In addition to tobacco, he announced, FBR is preparing to implement TTS in the sugar, fertilizer, and cement sectors in the near future.

Source: Pro Pakistani