ISLAMABAD            -           The government is working to establish a link between Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to broaden the tax base of the country.

A FBR policy board has stressed on the need to establish a link between NADRA and FBR for data sharing and data analytics. He created a sub-group of members to point out and sort the difficulties that are hindering the progress on the data sharing issue between the two organisations. This sub-group consists of Mr. Hammad Azhar, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Mr.Faiz Kamoka, FBR Chairman and NADRA Chairman; the subgroup will share its report with the chairman in a week.

An official has informed that a rationale behind the proposal is to increase the number of income tax returns and wealth statements being submitted annually by the tax payers. The government might integrate the NADRA databank with the FBR aimed at unearthing hidden assets of citizens to enhance revenue collection.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the second meeting of the FBR Policy Board here at the FBR Headquarters. The Adviser took a special notice of the difficulties the traders are facing due to stoppage of containers at the Torkham Border. Member customs informed that necessary steps have been taken and the issue will be resolved within the coming weeks.

According to the news report, around 15,000 Afghanistan-bound shipping containers had recently been stuck at Pakistan’s seaport enroute to their final destination due to the mismanagement on part of the customs authorities. The closure of Pak-Afghan border during peak time of COVID-19 and subsequent decision by the FBR to ensure 100 per cent scanning of Afghan cargo, led to a situation where about 15,000 shipping containers have been stuck. However, the Adviser has asked the FBR’s officials to resolve the issues at earliest to overcome the problems of the traders. FBR Chairman briefed the Adviser on the efforts the institute has been making to improve the abilities and expertise of its human resource and on the progress of the automation drive of FBR/Customs.

FBR Chairman briefed the Adviser on measures taken and future course planned to improve skills and competence of its staff by providing different in-house and foreign trainings to improve managerial competence and adopt a culture of performance based incentives including promotions. He also briefed the Adviser on the work being done on the IRIS (software) side to consolidate various application platforms into one to improve efficiency and performance. The Chairman further informed that a technologically advanced sales tax registration verification mechanism is introduced whereby officers with tablets will be sent to capture real time information and pictures including GPS coordinate of businesses requiring verification. Details of data sharing arrangements agreed to by 12 other organisations with FBR were also discussed in the meeting.

Mr.Syed Javed shared his recommendations on PRAL (Pakistan Revenue Automation) and told that PRAL CEO has been appointed. The next meeting of the policy Board will be held by the end of this month and the ToRs of the policy Board will be presented for approval. Mr.Hammad Azhar and Mr.Abdullah Yousaf shall prepare the said ToRs.