ISLAMABAD: The parliamentary panel has expressed serious concern over the revenue shortfall of the Federal Board of Revenue, as the shortfall surged to Rs170 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal year.
The meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs was held on Wednesday with MNA Faizullah in the chair.
FBR Chairman Dr Jahanzib Khan briefed the committee on the workings of the Revenue Division.
He said that FBR was established under Section 3 of the FBR Act, 2007, and drives its powers and function to achieve the objectives and purposes under section 4 of the said act.
Briefing about the organizational structure of the board, he told the committee that FBR was headed by a chairperson and supported by members and director generals in the administration of federal taxes.
He said that FBR was organized along functional lines, namely Inland Revenue, Customs and support functions. He further apprised the committee about the measures taken by the government with regard to addressing the key challenges and impediments in revenue collection.
He said that since September 2018, FBR has taken a number of initiatives to formulate a comprehensive transformation plan, which will improve its performance and service delivery.
“Tax returns have been increased 32pc in the first seven months,” he said, adding that associations of persons as well as new companies filed 10,366 and 7,467 tax returns.
Dr Jahanziab informed that revenue shortfall was recorded at Rs170 billion. “We have issued notices to 6,500 tax defaulters within the country and subsequently made recovery from these accounts. Moreover, the department also received around details of 150,000 offshore accounts and we are sending notices to them. Apart from this, we are also monitoring Panama and Paradise leaks,” he added.
The member of the committee expressed their concerns about the revenue shortfall and directed the FBR chairman to focus on the direct tax policy instead of indirect taxes.
The committee also decided to invite the stakeholders from the real estate sector to discuss the issues being faced by the said sector due to the difference in the valuation table of the FBR and DC rates.
Discussing the tax policy regarding the import of vehicles, the committee members showed annoyance on the extra prices charged by the dealers in the shape of ‘on money’. The committee decided to invite the secretaries of Ministry of Commerce, Industries and Production and stakeholders from the automobile sector in its next meeting.
The committee also ratified the nominees of the FBR policy board as required under section 6 of the FBR Act, 2007.
The committee members were informed by the FBR chairman that the nomination of State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar was made by the NA speaker according to the power vested under the act.
Committee member Qaisar Ahmed Shiekh, in particular, opposed Hammad Azhar’s name as a member of the policy board. He said the speaker should appoint an MNA instead of the state minister for revenue.