KARACHI - Sindh Assembly on Tuesday demanded return of Rs312 billion, collected by FBR and unconstitutionally on behalf of the federal government on account of services on phone, gas and electricity, saying that realisation of this revenue falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial government. The House unanimously carried a private resolution tabled by MQM legislator Mazahir Amir which says, "The assembly resolves and recommends to the Sindh government to ask the centre direct Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to discontinue immediately collection of general sales tax on electricity, gas, telephones and all other services, falling within the provincial jurisdiction as per constitution, and refund the amount collected to date to the provinces". Speaking in favour his resolution, Mazahir Amir said that telephone, especially the cellular phone service, has become necessity for everyone but the federal government was collecting 20 to 21 percent sales tax under the head of VAT, which was illegal and unconstitutional. Supporting the resolution, Sindh Minister Syed Sardar Ahmed said that federal government could levy sales tax on goods and not on services but in this case it was collecting sales tax on services unconstitutionally. He said that FBR was collecting 21 percent sales tax on telephone. Sardar Ahmed said that as the tax receipt of FBR published according to available figures of 2002-06, the federal government had collected Rs98 billion, during this period, from telecommunication on account of service tax, which should be returned to the provinces. Furthermore, he said that federal government was also collecting sales tax on electricity and gas illegally. He added that during the last five years, FBR had collected Ra231 billion on services under the head of sale tax, which should be returned to the provinces. Sindh Minister Shoaib Bukhari suggested some amendments in the resolution and, through a motion, requested the chair to suspend the relevant rules thereby allow him to make amendments that the House allowed. Sindh Minister Murad Ali Shah said that it was a provincial subject withdrawn from Sindh during the dictatorial regime in 2000. He said that in 2004, when PPP was in opposition, it had moved a resolution in this House but the then government did not support it. He said that Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had written two letters to the federal government demanding return of sales tax on services to the provinces. He informed the House that the matter would be taken up in the federal cabinet and expressed hope that the realised amount would be retuned to the provinces. The resolution was unanimously adopted. The House also unanimously passed another resolution moved by PML-Q member Shahryar Khan Mahar, which says, "The Sindh government should ensure availability of rice seed to of all kinds to farmers in the province for coming paddy season. Giving arguments, he said that procurement of seed would start after 20 days so government should take measures to ensure availability of good seeds in the province. PPP members Najamuddin Abro and Humera Alwani supported the resolution and said that availability of quality rice, sugarcane and wheat seeds were necessary. Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said that agriculture sector was on the top priority of government. Minister for Agriculture, Syed Ali Nawaz Shah, while responding to a point of order raised by members, informed the House that urea requirement of province stood at 5,14,000 tones however, 4,13,053 tones has reached the province. He admitted that some unscrupulous dealers were involved in black-marketing of urea and government had taken action against them. The House adopted a resolution moved by Information Minister Shazia Marri, congratulating Asifa Bhutto Zardari on her birthday on February 03. Shazia Marri said the Sindh government was deeply committed to press freedom and a staunch advocates of an unbiased and independent media. "Unlike the previous regime, the current Sindh government endeavours to address public issues expeditiously. In this regard, regular 'khuli katcheries' addressed by Cabinet members are held in all districts of the province, and a Complaints Cell has been established at the CM's House, which functions 24 hours a day. In addition, Sindh ministers are available at their cell-phones, for 2 hours daily in order to ensure public accessibility and administrative control through political monitoring. Development Committees have been established in every district to monitor the progress of development work, headed by the concerned MPAs", she added. "We salute the contribution of media in struggle for democracy. The media must continue play its constructive role while working as per universal principles of 'reporting the truth', 'minimising harm', 'acting independently' and 'being accountable", she continued. Later, Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro adjourned the House till today (Wednesday) morning.