— Omer Zaheer,CFA,FCCA (@OmerZaheerMeer) April 23, 2017
Peace be on you!
It’s with extreme pleasure that I announce that the prestigious Exceptional Public Value Award is to be awarded to myself by Ms. Helen Brand, OBE, CEO ACCA (the largest accountancy body globally). I’ll share the details with you after receiving the award, Insha Allah.
I’m honored by this privilege and grateful to ACCA for the recognition of my:
“contributions in the field of Budget and Taxation including but not limited to
- the drafting of Anti-Graft Legislation focused on Undisclosed Foreign Income & Assets which was later adopted by the Treasury,
- work done on the Regional Research Study on Indirect Taxation across South Asia and UAE,
- MOU’s with Tax Bars,
- Collaborations with Chambers of Commerce and Tax Bars,
- Pre & Post Budget proposals and seminars,
- continued member education events particularly on Taxation and
- opportunities created through R&I sessions with key employers.”
Last but not the least, I’m thankful to you all for your support and prayers particularly my parents, siblings, mentors, colleagues and friends.
Omer Zaheer Meer
Peace be on you,
It is with pleasure that we share that ACCA, the largest accountancy body in the world recently published a detailed report on our firm Millennium Law & Corporate Company (MLCC) and recognized it as the pioneer ACCA practicing firm in Pak. You can directly access it at: ACCA’s published profile of MLCC
or continue to read below and let us know your valuable views.
Millennium Law and Corporate Company (MLCC) becomes the Pioneer ACCA practicing firm in Pakistan
Profile of Millennium Law & Corporate Company
- 30 + Years’ “Young”
Millennium Law & Corporate Company (MLCC) has a background of thirty (30) years plus history of professional excellence stemming from its parent practice. It used to be focused solely on legal practice including corporate matters.
- Way Forward – One stop solution
MLCC was expanded to include a new division for providing ACCA centered services. This led to the inclusion of the areas of taxation, corporate services, internal audit, advisory, risk management and trainings in addition to the other legal matters within the services offered by MLCC.
The firm is setup with specialized teams dealing with relevant areas under four (4) partners, two of whom are ACCA members while one is an ex legal advisor Federal Land Commission (Government of Pakistan) and another is an ex deputy Attorney General of Pakistan.
- Pioneer ACCA Practising Firm in Pakistan
In 2015, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) took a giant leap in Pakistan and initiated practising license program for the country.
- MLCC became the pioneer practising firm in Pakistan with
- Omer Zaheer Meer FCCA (the managing partner of MLCC) being awarded the first ever ACCA practising license in Pakistan.
Before that history was made when:
- Omer Zaheer Meer FCCA became the first ever ACCA member to get admitted to the prestigious Lahore Tax Bar Association (LTBA) during 2009/10.
- He was later joined by his brother Mr. Ali Zaheer Meer ACCA who is now a partner at MLCC and another ACCA member at LTBA.
Millennium Law & Corporate Company has built a reputation for quality services based on value creation and issue resolutions with time-specified deliverables. It is now the premier ACCA practising firm in the country and one of the leaders in the taxation, advisory and corporate services sectors.
- Distinguished Collaborations
MLCC through its partners is currently represented at the Taxation Committee of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chairing the Liaison and sitting on the publication committees of LTBA, Chairing the Taxation Committee of ACCA, Global Tax Forum of ACCA and several think-tanks including Hamdard Thinkers’ Forum and Millat Thinkers’ Forum. MLCC’s clientele also includes some of the most distinguished names. Out key clients and/or associations are as below:
Read the rest of this section directly at: ACCA’s published profile of MLCC
Why was MLCC started?
Managing Partner’s Views:
It is my strong and educated belief that the ACCA qualification and a proper training program equips one with the relevant skills, education and expertise to be the best not just technically but on the value addition side of being an entrepreneur.
With an early start to my career resulting is sufficient experience, I felt it was the right time to launch an ACCA practising firm on my return from UK to Pakistan. Also it was an opportunity to contribute back to the profession and ACCA fraternity in several ways.
However ACCA did not have a local practising license back then. Nevertheless we upheld the brand ACCA and pioneered in an area deemed alien for ACCA members at the time, i.e. local taxation. Within a short span of time we stood out of the crowd delivering excellence and quality beyond norms of the market. We then started expanding into other areas such as corporate services, advisory, risk management, e.t.c. with equally good results.
The milestones so far
Since becoming the pioneer ACCA practising firm in Pakistan some of the major milestones achieved by MLCC are outlined below:
- Establishment of our non-legal services headquarter at the prime location of Bashir Mansion, 2 Turner Road, Lahore which is opposite FBR, close to Appellate Tribunal, behind Lahore High Court, adjacent AG Office and practically in the hub of all the action.
- Establishment of a branch office in DHA, Lahore for facilitation of our clientele from the posh areas.
- Award of the practising license and hence becoming the pioneer ACCA practising firm in Pakistan
- Joining of Mr. Ali Zaheer Meer as the second ACCA partner of the Firm
- Expansion intro value addition areas beyond taxation including internal audit, advisory, risk management, corporate services, e.t.c.
- Start of our training division
- Partnership with ACCA Pakistan for the CPD trainings of ACCA fraternity and beyond
- Attendance of our CPD programs and training events by high-profile professionals including owners, directors and even non-ACCA partners of other renowned firms
- Publication and launch of a research study on indirect taxation across the MESA (Middle-East and South-Asia region) in collaboration with ACCA and EY
- Working with top names in various sectors including the likes of National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited, MPDD, ACCA, LCCI, KCCI, LTBA, e.t.c.
- Pre-launch of our ACCA trainees induction program
Advantages and benefits of ACCA firms
ACCA firms offer several benefits for the ACCA fraternity, the business community and the society at large. Some of the major ones include:
- Opening up of new horizons and opportunities
- Jobs creation
- Quality services
- Greater acceptance of ACCA locally
- Entrepreneurial rewards
- Increased collaborations with worthy partners
- Greater exposure
With the advent of CPEC and the corresponding developments, there is a lot of potential for quality accountants and firms offering the right services. Yes it will be challenging but the rewards are more than commensurate. So have a dream and turn it into a reality.
Dear Readers and Friends,
Assalam O Alikum! (Peace be on you),
The constant suggestion by many of you to launch a formal Youtube channel covering my key public and/or professional engagements with a dimension of educating and enlightening has been turned into a reality.
It is with pleasure that I announce on this auspicious day of Friday that my team has successfully launched the same. The channel can be accessed at:
There are already some very interesting videos covering some of the key current issues and opportunities such as Immovable Property Taxation Issues, CPEC, Budget Proposals, Finance Act, e.t.c.
We aim to constantly update our channel with valuable knowledge sharing videos. Your feedback and appreciation would be the fuel to keep us going in this effort. I hope you find this useful and wish you all the best in your lives and careers.
Below are some pictures from the historic Pre-Budget seminar organized by me as Chairman Liaison Committee, LTBA in partnership with ACCA (Pakistan). We achieved collaborations with ICAP, ICMAP, LTBA, PTBA and other major bodies including LCCI in attendance. Chairman FBR was the Chief Guest and highly appreciated my presentation, representing ACCA.
ACCA team led by Mr. Sajjeed Aslam (President ACCA Pak), accompanied by Mr. Haroon Jan (Head of Members’ Affairs ACCA Pak) praised the unprecedented success of the first ever event of this nature on such a massive scale. The focus was on expanding the footprint of and creating opportunities for ACCA fraternity.
It is my vision and aim to build upon such historic successes for the betterment and professional development of ACCA fraternity.
This can only be possible with your vote and kind support in the ongoing MNP elections. For me, MNP is a platform to increase my positive contributions for ACCA fraternity, the profession and thereby our beloved Pakistan.
Please visit: My Professional Profile, Achievements for ACCA & Manifesto to consider me worthy of your valuable vote & kind support.
Thanks in anticipation.
Omer Zaheer Meer (ACCA MNP Candidate Sr. No: 23)
May this writeup find you in the best of spirits.
You may have already read my general professional introduction. If you haven’t please have a look at:
Major Endeavors/Achievements for ACCA Community:
This is however to briefly introduce some of the brilliant endeavors undertaken for the development of ACCA community and thereby the accountancy profession in Pakistan.
- Conducted and proposed CPDs particularly focused on taxation and local corporate laws to equip the members, affiliates and students with necessary technical skills in this extremely important area. (View Details )
- Conducted almost all the taxation CPDs and one-third of the total CPDs for ACCA fraternity.
- They’ve been phenomenally successful within the ACCA community and well received by the members of other accountancy bodies too, which in itself speaks of the top quality of the offering. The attendees included the top officials of firms, MNCs, businesses and public sector organizations.
- These trainings have led to a multitude of members getting equipped for and landing job opportunities. The member satisfaction in Pakistan has increased manifolds and the CPD program is taken as a benchmark by the global head office. (View Details)
- Represented and expedited for ACCA members in Pakistan to formally join the Taxation sector by getting joint events organized between the largest tax bar in Asia, LTBA and ACCA as Chairman Liaison Committee of LTBA.
- This resulted in increased footprint for ACCA and culminated in an MOU between both bodies signed by ACCA’s Head of Taxation (Global) giving a formal pathway to ACCA members towards the lucrative taxation practice. (View Details)
- Prior to this achievment, on my return from UK, I became the first ever ACCA to be enrolled as a member of a tax bar in Pakistan. This broke the monopoly of certain accountancy bodies there, created a precedent and opened up doors for ACCA members to join tax bars in Pakistan.
- Organized collaborations between ACCA and LCCI resulting in ACCA being duly recognized by and included in the committees of LCCI; hence cementing the footprints of ACCA & opening of job opportunities at leading businesses for ACCA members.
- Represented and/or introduced ACCA at various forums including LCCI, LTBA, MPDD, UET, several think tanks – being on their boards, e.t.c.
- Moreover, prepared ACCA’s taxation proposals for the joint initiative with LCCI. This was unprecedented as ACCA was the ONLY accountancy body to be involved in this endeavor.
- Helped organize and represented ACCA at the largest joint pre-budget seminar graced by dignitaries from all major tax bars, chambers, accountancy bodies and even the FBR team. Chairman FBR, the Chief Guest, highly appreciated the ACCA presentation by myself. This led to further enhanced footprint and acceptability of ACCA in Pakistan. (View Details)
- Proposed the idea of and assisted in ACCA’s practising liscence program for Pakistan.
- Became the first ever ACCA practising license holder in Pakistan as a test case to ensure a smooth journey for all ACCA members in Pakistan. (View Details)
- Similarly, my firm (Millennium Law & Corporate Company) became the Pioneer ACCA practising firm in Pakistan to create a case study for all ACCA members as well as bolstering the ACCA acceptance & footprints amongst professional firms. (View Details)
- Mentored a significant number of members, affiliates and students with their professional and personal inquiries, thereby contributing my share in the development of the ACCA community. (View Details)
- Initiated unprecedented forums for ACCA community to interact with each other and the ACCA officials with ease.
- Delivered the first ever “Thinking Ahead with ACCA” (a Ted Talk inspired program) on CPEC for enhanced recognition of ACCA in professional circles and increasing awareness of current issues within ACCA community. This is expected to be released soon globally.
- Chaired ACCA’s Taxation sub-committee and finalized the budget and taxation proposals in an unprecedented manner which will further enhance the recognition of ACCA’s technical prowess amongst the relevant circles.
- Recognized as a top professional to represent ACCA in the Professional Expert Forum.
These are just a few of the major endeavors, most of which were achieved in a very short span of time without being a part of the MNP.
Recognition by ACCA:
It was followed by few months being an MNP member as ACCA Pakistan in recognition of the outstanding achievements for ACCA community, nominated me as a technocrat member of the MNP. This allowed to further improve the deliverance for the collective benefit of the ACCA community.
Therefore as an elected MNP member, I’ll be able to more effectively pursue a lot of positive projects planned for the future, achieving the highest standards of excellence for the benefits of the ACCA community, InshaAllah.
Request for Vote, Support & Campaign:
But this can ONLY be possible with your support and trust. In view of the above, you’re humbly requested for your kind:
- vote for my MNP candidature
- support by asking your contacts for the same &
- campaigning by spreading this message and your recommendation on social media and elsewhere.
You shall be receiving an email from ACCA soon with the detailed instructions on the voting process.
Thanks in anticipation of a positive response. Please feel free to contact me as always for any support and suggestions.
myMfb.com: Omer Zaheer Meer
Twitter: @Omer Zaheer Meer
The following article has been published in Daily Nation, dated 27th April 2015
(E-Paper (Print Edition): http://nation.com.pk/E-Paper/lahore/2015-04-27/page-9)
FBR’s incompetence hurting economy
By: Omer Zaheer Meer
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is a semi-autonomous federal institution that is responsible for auditing, enforcing and collecting revenue for the government of Pakistan. It’s one of the most critical components of the revenue collection apparatus in Pakistan. As such it is supposed to be the pinnacle of professionalism, discipline and support to tax payers. Whether this is really the case shall be examined in this write-up. About couple of weeks ago, Chairman FBR invited this writer, while representing ACCA (UK) and LTBA at a historic pre-budget seminar that was organized with the collaboration of ICAP, ICMAP, ACCA, LTBA, PTBA, LCCI and several other Tax Bars, to send him proposals about the issues in and reforms for FBR. Below is a brief overview from this perspective.
Currently there are approximately 800,000 active income taxpayers out of a population of roughly 200 million in Pakistan. This is a meager 0.4% of the total population. On the other hand every Pakistani is paying indirect taxes on whatever they consume. The lack of trust of the taxpayer on the system and the resulting regressive taxation policies are a big hindrance in the attainment of an optimal taxation system. We’ve often discussed the problems with the taxation policies in Pakistan and proposed practical solutions. Frankly speaking there is only so much FBR can do in this regard since the policies are often driven by the IMF, World Bank and/or the political interests of the rulers. However the areas where FBR can and should play a very effective role are not in the best of states either and that is simply unfortunate.
Considering the tiny tax base it was only natural for FBR to attempt to broaden it. However the way they went about it is unprofessional to say the least while messing up a good endeavor big time. Recently notices claiming no existing tax registration based on “economic activities”, usually citing vehicle purchases were sent out to masses. Sounds positive? Hang on, what if it’s shared with you that many of those receiving these notices were not only tax payers already registered but paying millions in Income Taxes annually? This exemplifies a total lack of coordination within the systems and functions of FBR, which is unfortunately becoming a norm of late. Missing out on the records already held by FBR simply reinforces the misconceptions amongst the tax payers that FBR is out to bother already registered tax payers instead of acting as a facilitator and initiating genuine drives to catch tax evaders.
What’s tragic is that while on one hand such steps are undertaken citing the need to broaden the tax base but on the other hand proposals with huge potential to broaden the tax base such as bringing agricultural income and other exempt sections within the tax net as well as allowing use of CNIC as National Tax Numbers (NTN) and Sales Tax Registration Numbers (STRN) have been falling on deaf ears for almost a decade now. Of late, there has been news that CNIC may finally be allowed as NTN. If done, this will be a step in the right direction.
To underline the vast difference in the workings of FBR and similar bodies in developed countries, Let me share a personal experience with the readers to illustrate the significant gulf in the international standards and the ones practiced in our beloved country. While working in UK, I needed to change my tax code. For ease of understanding you can say it was like claiming a tax refund and I was not even a British national. It took me one phone call to UK’s HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) during my office lunch hour to get it done by the end of the lunch. Yes, just in less than an hour. Now compare it to the experience of a genuine tax payer in Pakistan who is ridiculed and abused for even genuine works. Presumptive and advance taxes are collected but when it is time to issue refunds in line with the law, actual due refunds are held for months and even years despite completion of all legalities and verification. What is worst is that in most cases the FBR officials verbally accept the cases as genuine but claim that due to the pressure to meet revenue collection targets they are unable to follow the law and deliver the tax payer their due right.
The problem manifests from the nepotism and non-professional attitudes of some officers who treat tax-payers with utmost contempt instead of the dignity they deserve. Un-realistic targets setup by higher-ups then further aggravates the matters with coercive, non coordinated and even illegal measures used by certain sections within FBR. The widespread corruption within the department further worsens the matters.
It’d be reasonable to point out that although PRAL (Pakistan Revenue Automation (Pvt) Ltd) does mess up things at times, many of its’ positive endeavors were blocked for fears of eradicating corruption using different pretexts by certain sections of FBR. For example, PRAL once finalized a completely automated system of issuing refunds to tax payers with even an online payment instrument. Naturally there was a huge hue and cry. The project was dumped and the corrupt manual practices continue to date.
Now as if all this was not enough, even the laws governing the whole taxation system are made mockery of within FBR by several officers undermining the good work and efforts undertaken by their more professional colleagues. Just ask any genuine tax payer or tax practitioner about the treatment meted out to them by most FBR officials and you’d be shocked. Due to limited space, this topic will have to be continued in future write-ups.
As for now, perhaps the policy makers and senior FBR officials should consider this dire situation seriously to rectify all the serious problems within FBR. If they fail to do so, the next time they complain about low proportion of tax payers in Pakistan as compared to UK or other developed countries, they should realize that they only have themselves to blame.
The author is Director of the think-tank “Millat Thinkers’ Forum”. He is a leading economist, CFA Charterholder, experienced fellow Chartered Certified Accountant and anti-money laundering expert with international exposure who can be reached on Twitter and www.myMFB.com @OmerZaheerMeer or firstname.lastname@example.org