[Dawn 21 April, 2019]

ISLAMABAD: More than 250 restaurants in the capital have announced that they will be closing from April 23 to protest alleged harassment and humiliation by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). The restaurants have said they will not restart their businesses until they are assured that they will not be treated like “thieves”.

An IRA member who asked not to be named said that the FBR approached restaurants last year and asked them to cooperate in the installation of the restaurant invoice monitoring system (RIMS). They were told that the FBR would not ask for physical accounts as they would now be monitored in real time.The RIMS is an automated system installed at restaurants to monitor all transactions and number of bills received. “Although there are around 3,000 restaurants in the capital, members of our association agreed and allowed for RIMS to be installed. The FBR praised us and gave us certificates saying we were cooperating, and we were informed that section 40-B would not be imposed on us,” he said. Under section 40-B, FBR officials can monitor transactions in person at restaurant or store counters. The representative said that the FBR suddenly raided restaurants this week and their officials began sitting at counters.