KARACHI: The Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) has achieved its full fiscal year revenue target of Rs100 billion and has now raised the target by Rs20 billion, announced SRB Chairman Khalid Mahmood.
Addressing businessmen at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the SRB chairman boasted that the provincial revenue board had achieved the goal for FY19 in just seven months and had now raised the bar to Rs120 billion.
“Despite economic constraints in the country, we managed to surpass the ceiling,” Mahmood emphasised. “The board has identified new sectors from where it can collect additional Rs20 billion by the end of current fiscal year.”
The revenue growth came in at 14%, he said while attributing the rise to strong activity in the transport sector and at port terminals.
“The growth could have enhanced to 21% had the Supreme Court not suspended taxes on pre-paid cards of mobile phones in the last six months,” the SRB chairman pointed out. The number of taxpayers registered with the SRB now stands at 29,000.
In May 2018, the Sindh government announced a sales tax relief package for the taxpayers, under which it completely waived the penalty, reduced the default surcharge up to 95% and gave immunity from arrest and prosecution till June 20, 2018. Mahmood added that the relief package could be enjoyed by those taxpayers who deposited the tax arrears (the principal tax amount) plus 5% of the default surcharge between May 21 and 27, 2018.
Speaking on the occasion, Businessmen Group Chairman Siraj Kassam Teli remarked that the revenue growth achieved by the Sindh government was commendable but Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah should disclose where the collected revenue was being spent.
“Whether the taxpayers’ money is spent in Larkana or elsewhere, it should be on record,” he suggested.
Stressing that the SRB’s revenue collection should be spent on people and should not go into somebody’s pocket, Teli underlined the need for the revenue board to provide the breakdown of revenue contribution by the cities of Sindh.
“Making this kind of information public will help create an atmosphere of trust,” he added. KCCI President Junaid Esmail Makda requested the SRB to adopt new automation technology and introduce a self-assessment system, which would ensure transparency in its affairs.
The board should allow businessmen sales tax adjustment against their social security expenditures, he said. The provincial tax collecting authority got Rs14,000 from dry cleaners every year, which should be reduced to only Rs5,000, the KCCI president suggested.
The tour operators should also be given tax relief so that they could attract more business to the province, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2019.