KARACHI: The government’s plan to carry out online surveillance of sugar production has faced technical obstacles as a real-time video connection to the tax system could not be established with demolitions reaching midpoint, sources said on Tuesday.
The surveillance cameras initially failed to capture manufacturing activity at the sugar factory, they said.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) asked sugar mills to install a video analysis system (VAS) to share real-time production activities before January 15.
Sources at the Karachi Large Taxpayer Office (LTO) said at least two sugar mills had so far implemented VAS from designated vendors, but the gadgets were unable to sync production line records with FBR’s main database. LTO Karachi has jurisdiction over 29 sugar mills.
FBR in November last year issued a list of seven vendors. The source said vendors complained that sugar factories were located in different parts of the country and they were unable to demonstrate equipment due to travel and other expenses.
“To resolve the problem between the sugar factory and the vendor, a meeting is scheduled for January 13 (today) at the FBR headquarters,” said a source.
The source said implementing VAS in sugar mills would not be possible during the current crushing season. The sugar crushing season runs from November to March.
FBR has appointed its sugar mill officials as a temporary measure until FBR develops a real-time video link to the crushing and production processes.
Previously, FBR extended the VAS implementation to January 15 after receiving requests from members of the Pakistan Sugar Factory Association (PSMA) as well as pre-qualified vendors to extend deadlines as tasks could not be completed mainly due to the ongoing COVID-19 challenges.
Last September, FBR introduced video analytics rules for electronic monitoring of the production of certain goods through statutory orders. The following month, PSMA signed a memorandum of understanding for the application of video analytics rules.
Video analytics technology has been introduced to receive production data from manufacturing sites and use it for tax collection purposes.
FBR allows sugar mills to send final notifications to authorized vendors to send their bids for VAS installations to mills.
FBR said the sugar factory will issue work orders to the vendors that are ultimately selected. The vendor must install the VA system at the sugar mill within 15 days.
“Case of non-compliance
part of either party (sugar factory or vendor) can be handled according to law, “he said in a statement.