Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Friday assured businessmen in Karachi that the government would address their issues. He termed the energy sector as the government’s ‘weakest point’ saying that it would take at least five to seven years to be resolved. Speaking with businessmen at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) headquarters Karachi, Tarin promised to consult FPCCI every quarter to resolve the issues of the business community efficiently and to restore their confidence to promote private sector investments. He also announced that FBR would set up a help desk at FPCCI head office, Federation House, Karachi to facilitate the resolution of discrepancies and issues in tax procedures. Shaukat Tarin categorically stated that all currently issued notices will be withdrawn to put an end to harassment and corruption; and from now on notices will be issued by third-party auditors after due diligence. He also committed to move in the direction of self-assessment. He also promised that an FPCCI nominee will be inducted into all decision-making committees and boards of the federal ministries; including, Privatisation Commission and FBR as the government realises FPCCI’s role as the apex body and its active participation is warranted in all policymaking forums. “Capital has no religion, no geographic boundaries, it will go where it is safe, where it makes money, otherwise it flows out. You have seen a lot of capital flowing out of Pakistan from the banking sector, pharmaceuticals, and some others. But I can assure you — have faith in us,” said the minister. Briefing on the Point Of Sale (POS) systems, he said in order to achieve integration there is a lot of other capacity building to be done within the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). “We believe that we will hit 70-80,000 to 100,000 retailers this year.” FPCCI SVP Khawaja Shahzeb Akram said despite repeated promises by the government, FPCCI’s recommendations and proposals are ignored in budget and policy making. He maintained that FPCCI does not propose anything for personal gains of office bearers; instead, all recommendations are derived from a regular process of obtaining feedback from the business, industry, and trade community of Pakistan. Shaukat Tarin said he will make sure that this concern is addressed in his quarterly meetings with FPCCI. Khawaja Shahzeb Akram also raised the issue of no respite to the common man due to inflation that continues to remain at a very high level of 13 percent despite incessant hue and cry from all stakeholders. He added that SBP should bring down the policy interest rate to provide some breathing space to businessmen of the country. Answering the concern, Shaukat Tarin said SBP is autonomous and he cannot dictate them on policy rate. He added that as core inflation remains at seven percent, he did not see a downward revision in the policy rate anytime soon. Explaining the oversimplification of tax filing form and sales tax refunds, the minister advised the FBR chairman to have a consultative meeting with FPCCI’s team and make necessary revisions to the form; whereas on sales tax returns, he said the ministry of finance has cleared most of the backlog and remaining refunds will be cleared sooner than later.