FBR track system deal challenge dismissed – Journal

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday dismissed two petitions challenging the tender process for the Track and Trace System (TTS) introduced by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to comply with the requirements of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to combat tax evasion in four key sectors: tobacco, cement, fertilizers and sugar.

Judge Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb dismissed motions filed by M/s Reliance IT Solutions (Pvt) Ltd (RISP) and National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) against their ousting from the bidding process and to challenge the award of the agreement for the granting of a license to AJCL (Pvt) Ltd.

However, the learned judge clarified that the court did not “examine the legality of the entire tendering process adopted by the FBR, since that was not the subject of the present proceedings. What I have decided are petitions for the issuance of a writ of certiorari in respect of the decisions of the grievance redress committee dismissing the petitioners’ grievance petitions. Therefore, this ruling should not exempt the licensing process for the T&T system from the scrutiny of the relevant forum. »

Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the TTS for the sugar industry on November 23, 2021 when the tobacco industry was already under electronic surveillance of the system.

The TTS was introduced for the development, maintenance and operation of a track and trace system for tobacco products, cement, sugar and fertilizers, which is one of the main requirements of the IMF and the World Bank. The World Bank had provided a loan to the government for a project called “Pakistan Raising Income”. The objective of the project was to contribute to a sustainable increase in domestic revenue by broadening the tax base and combating tax evasion. This objective was to be implemented through a TTS aimed at enforcing the correct payment of taxes and duties in the tobacco, cement, fertilizer and sugar sectors.

The TTS was intended to prevent federal tax revenue leakage and under-reporting of the production and sales of tobacco, cement, sugar and fertilizer products. FBR has awarded the TTS contract to AJCL (Pvt) Ltd. According to the plan, the license period was five years, with the possibility of a three-year extension.

However, one of the unsuccessful bidders, the RISP, challenged the award of the contract before the GRC constituted by the FBR, which rejected the applicant’s grievance concerning the bidding process for the award of a contract. Licence. The NIFT also challenged the award of the contract.

On November 20, 2020, the FBR issued an announcement inviting applications for the granting of a five-year TTS license for electronic surveillance of goods manufactured in or imported into Pakistan. According to the requirement, the licensee was supposed to be responsible for the installation and end-to-end operation of the system linking the manufacturing sites and import stations to the central control room of FBR.

The TTS was to include the provision of revenue stamps and embedded codes to enable real-time electronic tracking of goods across Pakistan.

Technical bids were opened in December 2020, after which the Licensing Committee deemed seven of the 11 bidders ineligible. Six of the seven bidders assaulted their ousting from the bidding process before the GRC.

The Licensing Committee declared AJCL the “most advantageous” bidder, having scored 182.93 points out of 200, while NIFT scored 134.99 points and Reliance 123.85 points.

Posted in Dawn, January 22, 2022