Sindh PA passes bill to form board to collect ST on services
By Imtiaz Ali
Karachi: The Sindh Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a bill to establish the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) to collect sales tax on services.
“It would be a robust and autonomous organisation on the pattern of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to collect the benefits which we’ve got through the National Finance Commission (NFC) award,” said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on the occasion. “Today is a historic day as after 30 years of struggle we have achieved what we had lost,” he added.
“The federal government has been arguing that the FBR should collect ST on services as Sindh had no collection agency,” added Qaim while explaining the aims and objectives of the Sindh Revenue Board Act. “But Sindh has now created a board and would collect sales tax on services.”
When the bill was unanimously passed into law, PPP legislators chanted the slogan of ‘Long Live Bhutto’.
The SRB Bill was not included in Thursday’s agenda and it was introduced by the law minister by preparing the supplementary order of the day. The minister introduced the SRB Bill after withdrawing the earlier Sindh Revenue Services Board Bill.
There would be an advisory council comprising top officials, ministers and others to supervise the Board. A report about the Board’s performance would be presented before the Sindh Assembly after each year.
Qaim said Sindh’s share in ST on services was more than 70 per cent but it had been getting only 25 per cent share because the distribution had been made on the basis of population. “It was totally injustice,” he said, adding that billions of rupees of Sindh were taken away by the Centre. He said the Centre was collecting around Rs50-60 billion through ST on services and Sindh was getting only Rs3.5 billion. “Sindh has a strong point to collect ST on services and it was a challenge for the provincial government to set up an organisation for this purpose.”
He said the SRB’s primary responsibility would be to collect ST on services and it will function under the guidance of the Sindh government. He admitted that discussion on ‘many matters’ was still going on with the Centre as a number of issues still needed to be sorted out.
According to the CM, with the collection of ST on services, the Sindh government would be able to provide more relief to the people. “Mega projects will be launched and top priority would be given to conserving water.”
MQM’s parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed said there was an option of “now or never for the provincial government and we opted for now”. Joint opposition leader Jam Madad said the formation was the SRB was an important step as it would increase the province’s revenue. He urged the Sindh government to follow the same principled policy on value-added tax which it had adopted on the NFC award.
PPP’s parliamentary leader Pir Mazharul Haq and Law Minister Ayaz Soomro also spoke on the occasion.
Source: The News