Karachi: Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) collected Rs. 100 billion, including Rs. 7.13 billion Sindh Workers Welfare Fund and Sindh Companies Profits (Workers’ Participation) despite impending collection deficit.

This has been disclosed in the SRB annual report, 2018-19, presented by Chairman SRB Khalid Mahmood to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah here on Tuesday. 

The report says 2018-19 has been a demanding year. Surging current account deficit and exchange & discount rates slowed down the economic growth, exacerbating the challenges faced by tax collection agencies, including the Sindh Revenue Board. Further blow came from suspension of levy of sales tax on cellular phones during the year, pursuant to an order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

According to report, despite impending collection deficit, Sindh government took a conscious decision to maintain the standard rate at 13 percent, the lowest in the country. During the year, 2018-19 the SRB collected Rs. 100 billion, including Rs.7.13 billion Sindh Workers Welfare Fund and Sindh Companies Profits (Workers’ Participation). Given the overall business sentiment and its effect on tax receipts, SRB’s performance was not disheartening.

During the year, services involving port and terminal operators, franchise, banks, insurance, contract execution and construction have remained major contributors, the report says and adds,  a noticeable growth of 24 percent was recorded in restaurant and café. With an aim to strengthen current operational arrangements and being the evading service-providers to the tax-net, increased focus was laid on unregistered services.

There have been significant changes in human resource in the past year, carefully overseen by the board. A group of 12 auditors – CA finalists with sound professional background were recruited to improve audit function and the organization’s capability to deter misreporting. A batch of 30 new Sindh Sales Tax Officers (SSTOs) was inducted.

The SRB says the new Auditors and SSTOs were imparted specialized training at Sindh Institute of Fiscal Management (SIFM). Besides, training in general laws, astutely drawn courses on the relevant laws and practices were also taught to the new hires.

A number of trainings were conducted in different cities of Sindh to enhance the understanding of officials, including dealing hands from Accountant General Sindh’s office about the provisions under the federal and provincial laws on withholding of taxes.

International experts of the Word Bank conducted mentoring sessions of Audit Wing on successful conduct of audit. Additionally, A three-day training on comprehensive audit was organized to equip audit team with tools and skill sets required to carry out audits in VAT-mode taxation. Important audit cases were reviewed to study the outcomes and deliberate as to how the tools used can be further improved to thwart the possible ingenuity employed for non-compliance and tax evasion.

Murad said that 2019-20 will not be less challenging. The unrelenting effort will be required on the part of SRB team to achieve the revenue targets set by disciplinary work ethics the organization has cared to maintain over the years.

The chief minister said that the SRB employees deserve much admiration for the industriousness their work demonstrated, in the face of difficult environment.