KARACHI: Noted Chartered Accountant and former Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Syed Muhammad Shabbar Zaidi has said that a complete elimination of bank cheque transaction system is not possible and the this system would continue to stay in Pakistani market.

Talking with Imran Sultan in Aaj TV program, Aaj Exclusive, he said the deadline under Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2021 is being expired on Tuesday night. He said this matter was to be decided by the FBR and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), adding perhaps the meeting between the FBR and SBP on this issue is yet to be finalised.

Zaidi said the fundamental question is whether we have to end the bank cheque system from Pakistani market, and if yes then how.

To a question that how the market would run sans post-dated bank cheques, he said ending the bank cheque system is not possible; however, we have to somehow digitalise the bank cheques. He said he had already given suggestion to Shaukat Tarin that the cheque system should be digitalised. He said personally he does not agree with the concept that the bank cheque system could be ended for good.

To a question that the norms of Pakistani market rest on post-dated cheques and what would be the scenario if the post-dated cheques are ended, he said that the post-dated cheque would stay but by its digitalisation is possible and in this case the FBR would be informed about such cheques. He said this is not a simple matter, but we will have design a proper system in this regard which would resolve this issue.

He said in no any country, the bank cheque system is ended as yet. He said this is impractical and we should not do it. He said a prudent decision would have to be taken in this regard, adding the cheque system would remain there in market. He said we have to design a proper system to give it a new shape. He said there is already a proper mechanism in corporate or companies’ side and the government should have worked on the non-corporate or non-companies’ side, but the government took a reverse course. He said we should not take hasty decisions on this matter, otherwise we have to withdraw them soon.

To a question that if the people sitting in the FBR were unaware of our market norms, he said that this proposal was not floated by the FBR, but instead by the Ministry of Finance. He said the government wants to go for digitalization of economy. He said either we have to make proper amendments in laws, or we have to withdraw this concept completely. He said it is prudent to take decision by taking FBR, SBP and business community in confidence and arranging a meeting where these stakeholders sit together and resolve the issue with mutual consultation. He said we should not even think that cheque would be ended, but we should think what could be done when the cheque system also stays in market.

To a question, he said this ordinance would not go to be lapsed but the government would table it in assembly and get is passed. He said that according to his guess, the prime minister is persuaded for a digitalization for economy and not for a documentation of economy. He said the digitalization before documentation is not possible and we have to go to the digitalization after documentation of economy. He said this is not the matter of ego but of realizing ground realities.