KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that his government is working hard to improve the efficiency of revenue collecting institutions and strengthen the financial health of the province.

“Instead of imposing new taxes, I will try to improve the [revenue] collection system,” he said while presiding over a meeting on the budget, Resource Mobilisation Proposal, at Chief Minister’s House on Saturday. The meeting was attended by Minister for Excise Mukesh Chawla, Minister for Agriculture Suhail Anwar Siyal, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sohail Rajput, Finance Secretary Hassan Naqvi, Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) Chairman Khalid Mahmood, Adviser to SRB Mushtaq Kazmi, Home Secretary Qazi Shahid Parvaiz and Agriculture Secretary Sajid Jamal Abro.

The SRB chief told the chief minister that they had the target of Rs78 billion tax collection and they would be able to achieve it with a slight surplus or shortfall. He said that they had announced a tax incentive scheme, which had received a good response. On this, Adviser to SRB Mushtaq Kazmi said that they had made Rs8.5 billion record recoveries during the current month. The chief minister appreciated the role of the SRB in strengthening the financial position of the government. He urged them to focus on compliance of SRB levies, this would help to tremendously improve the recoveries.

Excise & Taxation Secretary Haleem Shaikh, briefing the chief minister, said that they had the target of Rs52 billion against which 90 percent of recoveries had been made by the end of April 2017.  Minister for Excise & Taxation Mukesh Kumar Chawla told the chief minister that on the orders of the high court liquor shops remained closed for two months. As a result, the government incurred a loss of Rs500 million.

The Board of Revenue had set over Rs12 billion collection target for the current financial year. Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon told the chief minister that they had collected over Rs11 billion and by the end of the financial year the target would be achieved. It may be noted that major collections of BoR include registration fee on transfer of property, CVT and stamp duty.

ADP 2017-18

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, finalising the next Annual Development Programme (ADB) 2013-14 of different departments, said that his focus was to complete those ongoing schemes on top priority basis that are either near completion or had great utility for public, otherwise it would be quite difficult to continue uplift work with a huge throw-forward.

He said that he was paying special attention to development of infrastructure, especially health, education, sports and cultural facilities, setting up hospitals, schools, playgrounds and stadiums and developing performing art institutions.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that canal lining was also an important initiative taken by the Sindh government for water conservation. “The canal seepage has played havoc with agricultural lands of the province and the lining of major portions of Rohri Canal has produced great results,” he said. He went on to say that remaining portions of Rohri Canal would also be lined next year and lining work of Jamrao Canal would also be taken up. In the next ADP, over 780 schemes of provincial highways, bridges, connecting roads, water supply schemes, drainage, hatcheries and cattle colonies would be completed.

Almost all 18 schemes launched under the Rs10 billion Karachi package would be completed by June 2017 and only two schemes, underpass at Submarine Roundabout and road from NED to Safoora, would be completed by the end of August 2017.

The reconstruction and renovation of Karachi Zoo would be completed by December 2017. On this, the chief minister said that it was not acceptable to him. “I want you to complete it at the earliest,” he said. The chief minister said that a portion of Shahrah-e-Faisal has yet to be carpeted. This work must be expedited.

P&D Chairman M Waseem briefed the chief minister about the scope, funding and requirements for more funds, if any, for different schemes of different departments. The chief minister decided to hold a few more meetings to finalise the schemes and the plot size under the ADP.