KARACHI: In response to the newly constituted Tax Reform Commission (TRC) approved by Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar in September 2014, with the mandate to review direct and indirect taxes, customs tariff rationalization, autonomy and administrative structure of the FBR, the FBR Union has assured the TRC that Federal Board of Revenue could alone generate the amount equal to the federal budget. Resultantly, there will be no need to approach World Bank or IMF for monetary assistance.
In its proposals sent to the Commission, the union stated that the FBR already contributes around 70 per cent in total budget of Pakistan despite non-recovery of billions of rupees of income tax, sales tax and custom duty due to influential politicians and bureaucracy.
Moreover, the tax department can generate revenue equal to the total volume of federal budget through imposition of wealth tax and implementation of agri tax, which were debated much but never implemented. The Union recommended to terminate corrupt officers responsible for embezzlement of around Rs 300 billion annually by the so-called non-resident companies.
The low salaried staff cannot recover billions of rupees without any incentive. The FBR Union President Abdul Qayyum in the letter demanded 10 percent commission for those employees deputed on recovery task from embezzled amount on the patron of banking sector which also offers 10 percent share to its staff. The federal revenue union also condemned the role of the finance and establishment divisions and urged the government to set the FBR free from their clutches.
When the tax department has already been declared as an independent and autonomous institution under the Act 2007, then why the establishment division imposed its decisions on it, asked Abdul Qayyum, president of the FBR union.
The FBR can present the whole budget of the country if tax department takes decisions independently, setting aside influences of other bureaucratic departments.
The FBR should fix target for tax collection after giving incentives to its employees. The lower staff should be given promotion in line with the gazetted class. QAYYUM lamented that the board does not spend even one percent of total revenue collected by its own staff, while a poor country like Czechoslovakia spends around three percent of the revenue on the tax department staff.
The FBR is one of the few federal departments, which has no housing society for its employees, it said. “We have no transportation service, no medical complex as the Finance Division always creates hurdles in the way of the FBR authorities to facilitate lower staff.
The departments, which are constantly in loss for several years, are providing its staff best transportation services, besides having facility of medical complex like the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has.”
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