Sales tax collection from sugar industry up 33%

ISLAMABAD: Sales tax collection from sweets jumped by 6.59 billion rupees or 33% to 26.5 billion rupees in the first four months (December 2021-March 2022) of this crushing season, through the Track & Trace (TTS) system, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said on Saturday.

According to an official statement, the country’s highest revenue authority collected Rs 19.9 billion during the same period of the last milling season when it had no way of monitoring the sugar sector.

More than 79 sugar factories, with 151 production lines across the country, are currently being monitored through FBR’s innovative digital monitoring system designed to scan production.

TTS was launched by the Prime Minister on November 23, 2021 to keep a real-time eye on the sugar sector.

Subsequently, no bags of sugar were allowed to leave the factory premises and be sold in the market without a tax stamp.

Thanks to this transparent electronic monitoring of production, all the sugar refineries had to declare the actual crushing and production of the current campaign.

As a result of this digital intervention, the government learned that the sugar mills produced a record sugar of 7.51 million tonnes (until 24.03.2022) against 5.63 million tonnes produced in the last season crush, an increase of 34 percent.

Additionally, the FBR’s Inland Revenue Enforcement Network (IREN) squads, as part of a counter-evasion operation, conducted more than 60 raids in various markets across the country to ensure the successful implementation of the TTS.

During the operation, bags of sugar sold without tax stamps were seized in accordance with the law.

Shaukat Tarin, Federal Minister of Finance and Revenue, also congratulated FBR for the successful implementation of the TTS, which made Pakistan once again a sugar surplus country. Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, Chairman of the FBR, also praised the tax officials for achieving the feat.

The FBR Chairman said that in the coming months, the entire tobacco sector as well as other important industries such as fertilizers, petroleum and cement will be subject to the TTS.

“This will result in digital oversight of manufacturing and large-scale production of these key sectors,” the president said.

He added that in addition to preventing revenue leakage, it would also help minimize human intervention, paving the way for a transparent and reliable tax compliance system across the country.

Rachel J. Bradford