KARACHI: At source deduction of over Rs6 billion by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is unconstitutional and illegal, said Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, adding he would take up the issue in a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Friday.
Presiding over a preparatory meeting for the CCI, the chief minister, in response to a report presented by the finance secretary, said the FBR’s deduction of the withholding tax imposed on vehicles went against the spirit of an agreement between the Sindh government and the State Bank.
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According to the report, the FBR has deducted over Rs6.2 billion during 2015-16 and recently it has deducted Rs292 million from the Sindh government’s accounts, said Finance Secretary Hassan Naqvi.
In case the matter was not resolved, the chief minister issued directives to Advocate General Zameer Ghumro to file a constitutional petition in court.
Talking about the national water policy, which is among the agenda items for the meeting, Murad said he wanted sufficient supplies regularly to secure riverine areas and their economy. He emphasised that there should also be an arrangement for the disposal of rainwater.
He assured meeting participants that he would support formation of the National Water Commission for the resolution of water disputes if he was appointed its chairman on a rotation basis.
Referring to Balochistan’s claims regarding compensation for water supplies, Murad said Sindh had never stopped water supply to the province and the claim was not justified.
Talking about the allocation of 1,200 cusecs of additional water for Karachi’s K-IV project, the chief minister said a provision in that regard was available in the 1991 water accord. He added that he would make all-out efforts to get the request approved.
The meeting was informed that the provincial assembly passed the Sindh Senior Citizens Welfare Bill 2014 in April 2016. The provincial government has a plan to construct old-age and senior citizen homes in Karachi at a cost of Rs75.2 million under the Annual Development Plan.
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Minister for Information and Labour Syed Nasir Shah briefed the chief minister on the post-devolution status of the Employees Old-age Benefits Institution (EOBI) and Workers Welfare Fund (WWF).
He requested the CM to urge the CCI to stop the collection of WWF from Sindh because the FBR was still collecting it.
Shah asked the chief minister to urge the CCI to approve the transfer of WWF and EOBI assets and schemes to Sindh.
Energy Secretary Agha Wasif briefed Murad about the plan to provide gas to villages located within 5km radius of a gas field. Under the scheme, 437 villages will be provided gas at a cost of Rs3.590 billion.
The chief minister said the federal government/SSGC was bound to bear all the expenses.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2017.
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