Friends of tax evaders or Foes of Pakistan- FBR Fails to Implement Track & Trace System in All Tobacco Companies

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has failed to fully implement a track and trace system across all tobacco companies since past two years, a glaring example of governmental negligence with potentially dire consequences for the economy.

Despite promises to curb the illicit tobacco trade through effective monitoring, the FBR's inability to enforce this system across the board undermines efforts to combat tax evasion and protect public health.

“The track and trace system, designed to ensure transparency and accountability in the tobacco industry, is crucial for curbing illicit trade and reducing the consumption of tobacco products”, said Osama Siddiqui, a macroeconomic expert.

However, he added that the FBR's lack of resolve in enforcing its implementation not only emboldens tax evaders but also exposes consumers to unregulated, cheap cigarettes.

He said the repercussions of this failure are manifold. Not only does it deprive the government of much-needed revenue, but it also undermines public health initiatives aimed at reducing tobacco consumption. Moreover, it erodes trust in governmental institutions and reinforces a culture of impunity among non-compliant companies, he added.

It is worth mentioning that, despite years of FBR's efforts to implement the Track & Trace project in tobacco companies, only two out of fifty-two have fully implemented the system, leading to an annual loss of Rs 310 to the government.

“It is imperative that the FBR takes immediate and decisive action to implement the track and trace system across all tobacco companies. Anything less would be a disservice to the citizens of Pakistan and a boon to those who seek to exploit regulatory loopholes for their own gain”, he concluded.

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