Wednesday Jan 13, 2021
KARACHI: The government’s plan to examine online surveillance of sugar production was halted due to a technical glitch as a real-time video connection with the tax system couldn’t be built during the cane crushing season, The News reported on Wednesday.
Last year in November, FBR issued a list of seven vendors who complained that sugar mills are located in different parts of the country and they are unable to demonstrate the equipment because of the cost of travelling and other expenses involved, sources disclosed.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) asked sugar mills to install a video analytics system (VAS) for sharing the production activities in real-time by January 15.
However, due to some technical barrier, monitoring cameras failed to capture manufacturing activities at the sugar mills, the report said.
According to the sources at Large Taxpayers Office (LTO), which has jurisdiction over 29 sugar mills, at least two sugar mills have so far implemented the VAS from designated vendors, but the gadgets couldn’t synchronise the records of production lines with the main database of the FBR.
“In order to resolve the issues between sugar mills and vendors, a meeting is scheduled on January 13 (today) at FBR headquarters,” said a source.
The sources said the implementation of VAS at sugar mills would not be possible in the current crushing season as the sugar crushing season runs from November to March.
The FBR has employed its officials at sugar mills as a stopgap measure until it develops real-time video links with crushing and production processes.
Previously, the FBR extended the implementation of VAS up to January 15 after receiving requests from Pakistan Sugar Mills Association’s (PSMA) members as well as pre-qualified vendors to extend the deadline as the task could not be accomplished mainly due to the ongoing COVID-19 challenges.
Following which, in September last year, the FBR introduced video analytics rules for electronic monitoring of the production of specified goods through a statutory regulatory order.
The following month, PSMA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the implementation of video analytics rules.
Video analytics technology has been introduced to receive data of production from the manufacturing sites and use it for tax collection purposes.
The FBR allowed sugar mills to send a final notice to authorised vendors for submitting their quotation for the installation of VAS to the mills.
The FBR said the sugar mill will issue a work order to the finally selected vendor. The vendor is required to install the VA system on the sugar mill’s premises within 15 days.
“The case of non-compliance on part of either of the parties (sugar mill or vendor) may be dealt with in accordance with the laws,” it said in a statement.