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Sindh CM orders recovery of Rs6b deducted by FBR

Sindh CM orders recovery of Rs6b deducted by FBR

KARACHI:  Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has expressed displeasure over direct deduction of around Rs6 billion recently from the Sindh government’s account.

Presiding over a joint meeting of the Excise and Taxation Department and Sindh Revenue Board, he said, “This is unacceptable and must be taken seriously to recover the amount, which is meant for the people of Sindh.”

The excise department has been keeping the high-ups updated about the latest “unauthorised” deduction by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). The department’s legal team is pursuing all the tax matters before the Appellate Tribunal and the Federal Tax Ombudsman.

The meeting was told that the income tax department of the FBR had been creating demands to recover funds under different heads.

It was noted that the commissioner Inland Revenue through a letter dated June 14, 2017 to the divisional head operations, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) directed him to pay Rs294.5 million. The latter paid the amount out of the funds collected under the head of infrastructure cess.

The chief minister directed the excise minister to recover the amount at all costs, adding, “this belongs to the people of Sindh and I would not allow anybody or any institution to usurp their funds unconstitutionally.”

Meeting participants agreed that the NBP branch concerned was bound to transfer the deposited funds on a day-to-day basis to the account of Sindh government. However, the branch was not acting according to the prescribed procedure.

A complaint has been lodged with both the State Bank of Pakistan governor and NBP president requesting them to make good the loss caused to the Sindh government, otherwise, the province would be compelled to turn to litigation.

The meeting was also informed that the FBR Karachi had sent more notices for collection of over Rs3 billion without any concrete evidence as claims against previous years starting from 2012, being differential amount of dues and deposits on account of withholding tax.

The excise and taxation secretary said he would obtain a 45-day precautionary stay from the Appellate Tribunal against the notices, to which Shah said, “looking at the way they have behaved so far, it can be presumed that nothing positive will come out of it.”