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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has conceded before a parliamentary panel of collecting a significant amount of revenue through electricity bills as effective tax rate is 58 percent per unit on commercial consumer and 29 percent on domestic consumers.

Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue presided over by Senator Saleem Mandviwalla Wednesday inquired from the officials of the FBR about the quantum of taxes on per unit electricity because the committee has been receiving complaints from the people that there are heavy taxes on electricity bills.

The FBR official admitted before the finance committee that there are various taxes on electricity bills including 17 percent General Sales Tax (GST) as well as other taxes and added that the impact of taxes on per unit electricity for commercial consumers is between 40 to 58 percent and on domestic.

Those who are active taxpayers, the tax is doubled and this is being done so that people become filers in order to reduce their electricity bills. Senators regretted that despite such heavy taxation, the FBR has been unable to get people registered.

The committee was informed that extra tax is chargeable on supplies of electric power to industrial or commercial connections. Rs1,950 plus 12 percent of the amount exceeding Rs20,000 for commercial consumers, Rs1,950 plus five per cent of the amount exceeding Rs20,000 for industrial consumers. Senators said that there is a need to have one window tax policy.

Miftah vows to remove some taxes from electricity bills

The EXIM (Export and Import) bank also gave a briefing on its progress till 6-11-2022 regarding the approval process of operationalisation of the bank. The committee sought the next report on 31st January 2022. A senior official of the bank said that “we are having meetings with the finance secretary on a regular basis to remove hitches or problems and once it is operational it would help increase exports from Sialkot to a significant amount.”

A detail of pending litigation cases customs as on 31.10.2022 were tabled in the committee with a total number of 13,296 involving amount of Rs229.7 billion. The committee was further told that the pending litigation cases of Inland Revenue till 31-10-2022 are 75,021 amounting to Rs2,382 billion or (Rs2.382 trillion).

On the issue of containers stuck at Port Qasim, the committee was informed that presently, 988 containers are held up at Port Qasim, of the total, 3,000 containers at Port Qasim, R1012 have been cleared and another 600 would be released soon. Around 860 containers are also held due to non-fulfillment of various IPO conditions contraventions/misdeclaration and courts cases.

The meeting was also informed that the restriction for foreign travellers to purchase dollars through cheques and limit to carry dollar along with, which was reduced to US$ 5000 from US $10,000, will remain in force to further strengthen the regulatory regime and to improve documentation. The meeting was informed that to control unnecessary outflow of funds, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has revised the cash-carrying limits abroad.

Senator Dilawar Khan raised the issue of FBR raids on the tobacco industry and asked the ministry to probe into the matter. The Minister of State for Finance said that she has spoken to the chairman FBR and was informed that 348 non-duty paid cartons were recovered during the raids in different areas.

The committees recommended a further probe into the matter and sought a report for further deliberation. The meeting was attended by senators, Kamil Ali Agha, Afnan Ullah Khan, Dilawar Khan, and Kamran Murtaza. The Minister of State for Finance, Aisha Ghaus Pasha, senior officials from the ministry, the FBR, and the SBP along with other attached departments were also in attendance.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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