GUJRAT: The row between manufacturers of electric fans and the Federal Board of Revenue has surfaced once again, with industry representatives threatening shutdown if the FBR does not honour the agreement it signed with their association.

“FBR teams are impounding vehicles carrying electric fan consignments and harassing small vendors though we have got registered with the sales tax regime and paying hefty amounts under the agreement, “ says a fan maker.

He said closure of factories and street protests were the only option left with them. “The industry on the whole is at the brink of being ruined due to the harsh policies of the FBR,” he said.Another businessman told Dawn that a sum of Rs 100 to 150 had been added to the prices of all products after an agreement with the FBR according to which each and every newly-registered manufacturer would pay at least Rs 110 per electricity unit consumed by its industrial unit and the first installment of two months had already been paid by most of the newly-registered factories.

The ratio of electricity units would be judged as per the previous utility bills of these factories which would be upheld in future so that the manufacturers could not hide their exactly consumed electricity units by using the power generators in future.

Industry leaders believe shutdown is the only option

Another manufacturer said electric fans being produced in Gujranwala were being sold to dealers across the country without such a ratio of GST being paid by Gujrat-based manufacturing units which was also a cause of grave concern for them.

An FBR official said that as per the initially conducted board’s survey there were around 126 manufacturing units in Gujrat but only 80 were registered till December last.

He said PEFMA had earlier promised that all its members would ensure compliance of third schedule, according to which the retail price, including the sales tax amount, would be embossed on the body of the every product whereas no concession would be given on the matter of issuing factory invoice and gate pass to the vehicle carrying electric fans.

Some manufacturers told Dawn that the business community’s representatives had earlier been threatened by a law enforcement agency of grave consequences if the industry resorted to any street protest or closure of the factories when the industry had in January last warned of street protests against the FBR over the GST issue but now the situation had become more worse, even after complying with the tax regime.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the FBR said that the Gujrat commissioner (of FBR region) Zaigham Abbas had also written a letter to his counterpart in Gujranwala FBR region to convey the concerns of Gujrat fan makers regarding the GST payment by Gujranwala fan industry.

As per the third schedule of the GST, retail prices must be embossed on every item of the fan industry before being dispatched to the market.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2020