Rawalpindi - Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) Dr Saima Shah said that the board is facing a huge financial crunch and it would have to collect taxes worth over Rs500 million to overcome the crisis.

“At present, the board is facing serious financial crisis and has started the process of laying off surplus employees,” she told journalists at her office yesterday. She said that the board is facing financial problems mainly due to long pending tax collection. She said that the tax inspectors of RCB have to tight noose around the defaulters who did not pay tax from 1999.

“We will have to collect Rs500 million taxes,” Dr Saima added. She said that there were many people who had to pay a huge amount of taxes as they owned big plazas in the cantonment area. She said the list of defaulters was very long as many prominent businessmen fall in it.

“The RCB will collect tax from all the defaulters comes what may,” she said, adding the board had asked the defaulters to pay 25 per cent of the total due tax to avoid legal action.

She said that the board had started sealing the properties of the defaulters living in the cantonment areas.

Dr Saima said that RCB had launched a drive against defaulters and no relaxation would be given to anyone.

Expressing her deep concerns, the CEO revealed that some 3, 000 housing units were still out of the tax net of the RCB. She added that the board had formed two assessment committees to bring more units in the tax net.

Responding to the queries of journalists, CEO Dr Saima Shah said that total number of units falling in the tax net were 66, 000.

Talking about financial crisis, she said that the annual budgetary deficit of the RCB was Rs250 million. She said that the board spent Rs7.5 million to pay salaries and pensions.

The RCB administrator stated that there were 22,00 employees of the board and they had declared 850 employees in the surplus pool. She said that the board had decided to lay off the surplus employees gradually. She said that the board would however retain qualified and hardworking employees.

She disclosed that major financial problem for the RCB was long pending dues. She said that the RCB had to pay Rs3.5 billion to management of Khanpur Dam as the due had reached to this level as the board could not pay the dam management regularly.

“ The RCB had to pay Rs10 million every month for maintenance of Sangjani Water Treatment Plant,” said Dr Saima Shah.