Digital mode to disrupt business transactions: FPCCI

Digital mode to disrupt business transactions: FPCCI

KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has said that the digital mode of payment for corporate expenses would disrupt business transactions; because almost all sales in the country are made on credit and this credit is secured through ‘post-dated’ cheques issued by buyers in favor of the sellers.

Mian Nasser Hayat Maggo, President FPCCI, in a statement on Thursday expressed dismay that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) continues to persist with the provisions of the ITO Third Amendment 2021; which seeks to compel companies to make payments for their expenses through digital mode instead of cross cheques; which is the prevalent mode for settling sale and purchase transactions in the country.

He also stated that he was shocked by news reports revealing serious ‘Conflict of Interest’ underpinning this provision of coercing companies to make payments digitally. It has been learnt that this proposal was initiated by a committee of the FBR; and, not by the FBR itself and that committee includes an owner of a B2B FinTech company; which provides software services for digital payments.

FPCCI Chief added that it was that owner of the FinTech Company and a member of that FBR committee as well; who proposed this idea and pushed it to be made part of the law, according to some other committee members.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo added that FPCCI has taken note of FBR’s contention that “3rd party payments are highly prevalent in organized and informal sector whereby businesses do not use their own bank accounts when making payment for supplies and tell their own customers/transaction based informal investors to make direct payments to the principal supplier.

This is highly prevalent in supply chains and has become an accepted norm” FPCCI considers this as a fallacious argument, as such practice cannot be employed by a company as it has to deduct withholding tax on all payments that it makes and submit returns of tax withheld to the FBR, he added.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo explained that a company can only indulge in such practice if it has an ‘Undeclared Business Account’ in a bank. In that case, any such delinquent company can continue to make payments digitally; despite the change in the law; as the bank account used is ‘undeclared’ anyway.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo pointed out that, nowhere else in the world, bank cheques have been discontinued or businesses coerced to use digital mode of payment instead of bank cheques. FBR’s desire to outlaw use of bank cheques by companies is indeed a unique regulation. Digital payments are evolving in Pakistan and developed countries are way ahead in employing digital mode of payments, but they too, have not coerced companies or anyone else to limit or discontinue use of cheques, he added.

FPCCI President emphasized that it is abundantly clear that what the FBR enunciates as problems, that lead to leakage of revenue, pertain more to the non-corporate sector than the corporate sector. The question, therefore, is why companies are being subjected to this third degree? The obvious answer lies in vested interests influencing the FBR to promote a particular mode of business by one stroke of a pen, he added.

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