KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that at source deduction of over Rs6 billion by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is unconstitutional, therefore he would take up the issue at the meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI) to be held in Islamabad.

He made it clear that in case the matter was not resolved, the provincial government would file a case in the court.

He was presiding over a preparatory CCI meeting here at the CM House on Thursday. The meeting was attended by Minister for Information Syed Nasir Shah, Minister for Law Zia Lanjar, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Advocate General Zameer Ghumro, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, provincial secretaries and other concerned officers.

Reacting to a report presented by Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi about at source deduction made by the FBR against withholding tax imposed on vehicles, the chief minister said that it was illegal and against the spirit of the agreement between the Sindh government and the State Bank of Pakistan. Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi said that the FBR had deducted over Rs6.2 billion during 2015-16, and recently it had deducted Rs292 million from Sindh government’s account [Excise & Taxation Department].

The chief minister said that he would take up this issue at the CCI meeting and would try to settle it. “Otherwise the provincial government will file a constitutional petition in the court for which he said he had issued necessary directives to Advocate General Zameer Ghumro.

The items included in CCI meeting’s agenda are national water Policy, short supplies of water in Pat Feeder and Khirthar Canals, allocation of additional 1200 cusecs for Karachi (K-IV), post-devolution status of EOBI, and Workers Welfare Fund, matters pertaining to National Water Policy, higher education, import of LNG, national forest policy and senior citizens privileges.

Talking about National Water Policy, the chief minister, who also holds the portfolio of irrigation, said he just wanted to secure the katcha areas and their economy and the preservation of delta area with the help of sufficient supplies regularly. He added that there should be an arrangement for disposal of rainwater in plains where it could not be disposed of or diverted to rivers.

The CM further said that he would support the formation of National Water Commission for resolution of water disputes if the chief ministers of all four provinces were to head it turn by turn.

Murad said that the Balochistan government was claiming monetary compensation on account of short supplies of water.

He clarified that the provincial government had never stopped the water meant for Balochistan or cut its share. “The allegation is not justified,” he said.

The chief minister went on to say that 83 outlets had been taken out from Guddu Barrage Command, which diverted Sindh’s water to Balochistan.

Talking about the allocation of 1,200 cusecs (650.5 MGD) additional water for Karachi City (K-IV Project), the chief minister said that its provision was guaranteed under the 1991 water accord. “The present requirement and allocation is 1200 cusecs, and that requirement would be 1800 cusecs by 2020 while it would be 2400 cusecs by 2025,” he said. He added that he would make all-out efforts for the approval of request because Karachi was mini Pakistan and people from all other provinces lived here.

The meeting was told that the provincial assembly had passed The Sindh Senior Citizens Welfare Bill, 2014 in April 2016. The provincial government has a plan to construct old-age and senior citizens homes in Karachi for Rs75.2 million under the ADP.

Minister for Information & Labour Syed Nasir Shah, while briefing the chief minister on post-devolution status of Employees Old-age Benefits Institution (EOBI) and Workers Welfare Fund (WWF), said that the Sindh government had 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 SRB which has collected Rs3.017 billion upto May 2017. He requested the chief minister to urge CCI to stop collecting WWF to the extent of Sindh Province because FBR is still collecting WWF.

Syed Nasir Shah also requested the chief minister to urge CCI to approve the transfer of WWF and EOBI assets and schemes of WWF.  He pointed out that there are 1914 different schemes of flats, hospital and school of WWF which should be handed over to Sindh.

Secretary Energy Agha Wasif briefed the chief minister about the plan to provide gas to villages located within five kms of the gas field.

 He said under the scheme 437 village s would be gasified against Rs3.590 million. The Sindh government’s share comes to Rs2.8 billion.  On this the chief minister said that according to the Supreme Court judgement into the case and and prime minister’s directives, the federal government/SSGCL is bound to bear all the expenses. Therefore, he would argue in the CCI meeting accordingly.

The Sindh government would take up its earlier stance about higher education commission that it has become provincial subject after 18th Constitution amendment.