Digitalization inevitable to curb corruption, promote taxation: President

28/2/2022

ISLAMABAD, Feb 28 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Monday while lauding the Federal Tax Ombudsman’s role in bringing ease of doing business and address taxpayers’ trust deficit, emphasized the institution to enhance its outreach and adopt digitalization to address corruption, delays in disposal of cases and bring about transparency.

The president, addressing a Public Awareness Seminar on the role of the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), said pilferage of funds and record tampering could be stopped through the use of blockchain technology.

Lauding the role of FTO for providing Rs 8.5 billion relief to the taxpayers last year, the president called stressed the need for better connection between the people and the government institutions.

He viewed that cordial working relation between the FTO and tax institutions would also pave way for a conducive environment for the taxpayers.   

The president said the early adoption of technology was inevitable as in some cases, the delays are intentionally made to mint money and exemplified the impediments in the procedures of customs clearance of products exported by the business community.

Calling for the reduction of human factors, the president cited the introduction of information technology in the Auditor General of Pakistan’s affairs asking the auditors to frame the charge sheet within a day to minimize the chance of corruption.

The president also cited the functioning of various Chinese banks who operate without any office and interact with their clients virtually.

He also asked the FTO to enhance its outreach to make the maximum number of taxpayers know the role of the organization who should consider it their own desk.

He said through various measures, the FTO was also bringing about the ease of doing business and also advised the business community to seek reduction in taxes instead of avoiding documentation of the economy.

President Alvi also appreciated the relief worth Rs 8.5 billion to taxpayers within a year and advised the FTO officers to equip themselves with the knowledge of law to make accelerate the resolution of taxpayers’ issues.

He said if the nation shows its commitment to “Say no to corruption”, no force in the world would be able to deter it from progress.

In his address, Federal Tax Ombudsman Asif Mahmood Jah said since assuming the office on September 29 last year, 1,500 cases were disposed and relief was granted to the business community in almost 95% of the said cases.

He said being a business-friendly institution, the FTO was aimed at creating an environment of trust for the business community and giving due respect to the tax payers.

He said during last five years, the FTO ensured the tax refund of Rs 27 billion. Having known the FTO’s performance, the number of complaints had increased to 340 in February of which 304 were disposed of.

Jah said the FTO was just a phone call away from the taxpayers who could register complaints online through FTO’s complaint system, mobile application or even phone call.

Story by Associated Press of Pakistan

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