Members of the Senate pressed the government on Thursday to share tax collection figures with the upper house with a full division-wise breakdown.
Expressing her dissatisfaction with the Senate’s question hour, Senator Khalida Parveen said the minister for finance, economic affairs, statistics and privatisation should give division-wise details of the revenue collected by the government.
“This is a matter of great significance and people from each area should know how much revenue is being collected for their respective areas so they can know how much is being spent in those areas,” she said.
Senator Khalida Parveen added that although it was a provincial matter, it reflected upon the incompetence of FBR to provide relevant information.
Adding to the question, Senator Farthatullah Babar said that the FBR must have full information of the revenue collected from each division. Either they have not understood the question, he said, or are simply hiding the figures.
In response, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi replied that the FBR is a federal institution and the revenue is not collected division-wise hence, it is hard to say from where the revenue is being generated. He suggested referring the matter to the relevant committee for further discussion and investigation.
Crticising the government, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq said that there is no yardstick to assess National Finance Commission, its outcomes and performances in the provinces. Referring to funds allotted to the provinces, she said that the education budget had lapsed in Sindh, whereas only 50 per cent of the budget for infrastructure could be utilised in K-P, while the human resource and development budget could also not be utilized completely in Balochistan.
She questioned if the government was devising a mechanism to measure the performance of the provinces through indicators.
From a total of 20 questions in the Senate question-hour, at least five remained unanswered owing to unavailability of concerned ministers in the upper house.
Taking serious notice of this, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani directed ministers to ensure that the replies were received by the Senate Secretariat so that they could be taken up during the question-hour session.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.
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