The lack of efforts by authorities to implement TTS in Pakistan causes massive economic losses.

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Years of effort to install the Track & Trace System (TTS) across various sectors have fallen short of completion, painting a grim picture of the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) performance. The former government inaugurated the TTS in 2021 to modernise tax evasion detection and ensure transparency. However, the FBR’s repeated failure to implement this crucial system has cost the exchequer billions of rupees annually.

The FBR’s struggle to implement the track-and-trace system has lasted over 15 years, marred by delays caused by court cases and other bureaucratic hurdles. Despite the system’s potential to streamline revenue collection and combat tax evasion effectively, its full integration remains a distant goal.

It is worth mentioning that only two tobacco companies have fully implemented TTS on their premises, while the other 50 remain outside its purview.

In a recent review meeting, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed dissatisfaction with the FBR’s performance in implementing the track-and-trace system across four major industries: sugar, cement, fertiliser, and tobacco. An expert said, “The delay not only translates into economic losses for the country but also exacerbates challenges for tax-paying industries like tobacco.”

Alarmingly, he added that the illicit tobacco market share has surged to over 60%, the highest among Asian countries, leading to an annual revenue loss of approximately Rs 310 billion.

“The FBR’s inability to implement the track and trace system after 15 years is a glaring failure, resulting in significant revenue losses and hindering efforts to curb tax evasion,” he said.

He urged the government to take urgent and decisive action to implement the TTS across all tobacco companies, reducing tax evasion and generating revenue to address the budget deficit.

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