KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday warned to take up the issue of at source deduction of over Rs6 billion by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in the meeting of the Council of Common Interests being held in Islamabad.
The chief minister presiding over preparatory CCI meeting said that deduction is unconstitutional and illegal, and the provincial government would file a case in the court if the matter is not resolved.
CM Sindh strongly reacted to a report presented by Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi about at source deduction made by FBR against withholding tax imposed on vehicles.
The secretary said that FBR has deducted over Rs6.2 billion during 2015-16 and recently it has deducted Rs292 million from Sindh government account [Excise and Taxation Department] against withholding tax imposed on vehicles.
CM Sindh said that it was illegal and against the spirit of the agreement between the Sindh government and the State Bank of Pakistan. He said he would try to settle the matter in CCI meeting.
The agenda for CCI meeting includes national water policy, short supplies of water in Pat feeds and Kirthar Canal, allocation of additional 1200 cusecs for Karachi (K-IV), post-devolution status of Employees Old-age Benefits Institution(EOBI), Workers Welfare Fund, and matters pertaining to higher education, import of LNG, national forest policy, and senior citizens privileges.
National Water Policy
CM Sindh, who also holds the portfolio of Irrigation, spoke about the National Water Policy and said that he would support the formation of National Water Commission to resolve water disputes if the chief minister is appointed as chairman on rotation basis.
He said just he wants to secure catchment areas and their economy and preservation of delta with the provision of sufficient supplies regularly. He also added that there should be an arrangement of disposal of rain water in plains where it could not be disposed or diverted to the river.
CM Sindh said that the Balochistan government was claiming monetary compensation on account of short supplies of water, while the claimed is unjustified and that the provincial government has never stopped or reduced water for Balochistan.
CM Sindh said the allocation of 1200 cusecs (650.5 MGD) additional water for K-IV Project in Karachi was in accordance with 1991 water accord.
“The present requirement and allocation is 1200 cusecs, requirement by 2020 would be 1800 cusecs while it would be 2400 cusecs by 2025,” he said. He added that he would make all out efforts to approve the request.
Post-devolution status of WWF, EOBI, HEC
CM Sindh was informed that the provincial assembly has passed The Sindh Senior Citizens Welfare Bill, 2014 in April 2016, and has planned to construct old-age and senior citizens homes at Karachi worth Rs75.2 million under the annual development programme.
Minister for Information and Labour Syed Nasir Shah briefed CM Sindh on the post-devolution status of EOBI and Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) and said the Sindh government has passed EOBI, WWF and Sindh Companies Profits (Workers Participation) Act.
The Workers Welfare Board has been notified and collection of the contribution has been entrusted to Sindh Revenue Board which has collected Rs3.017 billion till May 2017. He requested the chief minister to urge CCI to stop collecting WWF from Sindh because FBR is still collecting WWF.
He also urged tthe transfer of WWF and EOBI assets and schemes, pointing out that there are 1914 different schemes of flats, hospitals and schools of WWF which should be handed over to Sindh.
Secretary Energy Agha Wasif briefed CM Sindh about the plan to provide gas to villages located within five kilometres of the gas field. He said 437 villages would be provided gas during the scheme.
The cost of the scheme is Rs3.59 million out of which Rs2.8 billion would be borne by Singh government. CM Sindh said that the federal government and Sui Southern Gas Company is bound to bear all expenses based on Supreme Court’s judgement and directives of the prime minister.
He said he would argue the matter in the CCI meeting. He would take up its stance about HEC as it has become a provincial subject after the 18th Constitutional Amendment.