Property and professional taxes: Punjab sets recovery target

The Punjab government has set an ambitious target of Rs 5,905 million for the recovery of Urban Immovable Property Tax (UIPT) in the financial year 2012-13. Official sources told Business Recorder that the government intended to achieve this target through improving its revenue collection efficiency and reducing leakages in tax collection.

According to them, UIPT is essentially a devolved tax but for administrative convenience, it is being collected by the provincial government and passed on to the Tehsil Municipal Administrations (TMAs).

Sources claimed that the provincial government already intended to implement a number of reform measures to enhance the revenue potential of the UIPT during FY 2010-11. These measures included upgradation of valuation tables and reduction in differential between owner occupied and rented properties. Revised Estimates 2011-12 of UIPT is Rs 4,300 million which is compared to collection of Rs 3,220.969 million in FY 2010-11. In this way, the Revised Estimates 2011-12 is 33.5 percent higher compared to actual collection in previous financial year. Nevertheless, this impressive growth rate has been achieved through increase in tax based by better administration and improved recovery of arrears.

Moreover, the provincial government has set a target of Rs 886.500 million for the recovery of Professional Tax in the year 2012-13.

As per Budget Estimates 2012-13 of Professional Tax, which is of Rs 886.5 million compared to RE 2011-12 of Rs 448.358 million, the government is targeting 97 percent growth in professional tax compared to the collection in FY 2011-12.

Source claimed that Excise & Taxation Department has prepared a plan to achieve this ambitious target by plugging gaps in professional tax law due to which a large number of companies legally avoid this tax.

Sources claimed that contribution of Professional Tax is not huge but it is an important tax due to being a direct tax having a potential for buoyancy in the long term.

On the other hand, some experts recommend merger of professional tax into Sales Tax on Services with a view to reduce number of taxes levied by the government.  Continue reading

PAC halts plot allotment to bureaucrats

ISLAMABADIn a charged meeting on Thursday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) directed the government to immediately cease the allotment of plots to bureaucrats and journalists as the practice begets the plague of ‘plot politics’ in the country.

Headed by Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan, the PAC meeting released some stringent directions. It instructed both the housing ministry and the Capital Development Authority to stop land allotments until the PAC submitted a detailed report on the issue.

The committee has already announced that the policy of giving two plots to grade-22 officers will be revisited.

The committee also sought a list of plots allocated to some influential journalists. According to Chan, there are authentic reports that some journalists have obtained many private plots in the posh sectors of Islamabad, while dozens have occupied official residences at nominal rent. Continue reading

Symposium on solid waste management today

Islamabad—International Symposium on Solid Waste Management” will be held at Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) on Friday (July 13, 2012) at PSF Auditorium.

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali will be the Chief Guest at inaugural ceremony of the Symposium to be held at 10:00AM.

PSF has organized the Symposium to take up urban, hospital and industrial waste issues that need to be addressed urgently, as inefficient disposal of waste is the main source of pest attack on economic crops and poor practices adopted for waste disposal have become one of the leading causes of environmental deterioration.

Ms. Giulia Costa, an international expert on waste management from University of Rome, Italy will deliver a presentation on waste management.

The stake-holders, involved in waste management, from different organizations like Engineering Universities; City Development Authorities (CDA, LDA RDA,) representatives from Ministry of Climate Change, PCSIR, COMSATS, NUST; members from donor agencies such as UNIDO, UNDP, UNEP and UNESCO and principal investigators of NSLP’s (Natural Sciences Linkages Programme) ongoing projects on environment are participating in the Symposium to share their experiences. Continue reading

Water pilferation in slum area

Islamabad—Amidst worst water pilferation in surrounding slum settlements of the Quaid-e-Azam University, CDA and Varsity administration has turned deaf ears towards miseries of the people.The supporting staff of the CDA’s directorate of water supply making money by allowing an illegal water connection from 48 inches diameter supply line. It is pertinent to note that according to rules of the CDA no one was allowed to establish a connection from the same line because it provides water to important buildings including Prime Minister house President house and parliament etc.

The main reason behind this theft is that CDA never stopped water supply through this line and currently all other supply lines (i.e 18 inches diameter, 36 inches diameter) have no water since long.

The slum settlers had no other solution except bribing the officials of the CDA for water in the hot summer. If some one count those houses that got water connections illegally, their number would be in thousands, Online has learnt.—Online Continue reading

Saidpur Village faces water shortage

ISLAMABAD – Saidpur Model Village, affiliated with the federal capital, is facing acute water shortage and locals are compelled to bring water from a natural stream. According to details, the village had been developed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) couple of years ago but well-equipped water supply system was not provided to the village.

Due to improper system these days, water is supplied for limited durations and locals have expressed their concerns over it.

Locals complained that water was provided for limited durations and which is not sufficient according to their requirements. People complained that water supplied through pipelines was unhygienic and contained impurities.

The local residents have demanded of the concerned authorities to ensure smooth supply of hygienic water to the area. Continue reading

Intelligence reports say slums pose security risk to capital

Islamabad: Intelligence reports have revealed that security of the federal capital is at stake due to increasing population of at least 14 illegal katchi abadis, majority of whose inhabitants are involved in criminal activities. Intelligence agencies and Islamabad police’s Special Branch have submitted their reports to high officials regarding the potential security threat from these slums.

The intelligence agencies also pointed out that the security of the sensitive installations, including the PM’s Secretariat, is at stake due to slums in their surroundings. More than 70,000 people are residing in these slums, whereas eight out of 14 illegal katchi abadis hold legal status while the increasing population rate of these abadis has put a question mark on the credibility of the departments concerned.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) had been discussing the shifting of the katchi abadis. Anyhow, the district administration has passed the buck to the CDA, saying the CDA has failed to implement the ordinance issued by former president Musharraf regarding the shifting of the slums.

The CDA had set up Farish Town for he slum dwellers in the Musharraf regime. The Phase I of the town had been completed while the CDA stopped the construction of the Phase II as the allottees of the Phase I had sold out their plots and returned to the katchi abadis.

According to reliable statistics, eight katchi abadis, including French Colony, Paris Colony, 100 Quarters, 66 Quarters, Hansa Colony, Charles Colony, Saidpur Model Village and I9 Christine Colony were set up by the CDA and have legal status. Whereas, illegal katchi abadis, including G7, G8, F6, F7, I11, and Banni Gala were set up due to the negligence of the departments concerned. online Continue reading

PAC directs ministry, CDA to stop allotments under PM package

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Nadeem Afzal Chan on Thursday directed Ministry of Housing secretary and CDA chairman to stop allotment and transfer of plots under the PM Incentive Package till the final decision on the fate of the policy.

This has sent a wave of concern among senior bureaucracy.Besides issuing stay order on allotment and transfer on the plots to grade-22 bureaucrats, the PAC chairman also sought the list of all the journalists who also got plots from the federal government. These directive of the PAC were issued after its meeting here in which the audit paras relating to Ministry of Railways during the years 2004-05 and 2006-07 were considered.

“We hope to finalise our proposals by next week and it would be referred to the government. We want to end the plot culture from the country. There is no land available in the country and it seems that for carrying out the plot policy, the land could be taken from neighbouring countries on lease,” he said in a sarcastic tone.

Nadeem Afzal Chan said he had received complaints that there are many journalists who did not have a single plot whereas there were others who owned even five plots. “Present the list of journalists in the PAC in its next meeting,” he directed. Continue reading

CDA to construct multipurpose sports grounds in capital

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Engineer Farkhand Iqbal on Thursday said the CDA would construct new multipurpose sports grounds in the federal capital to promote healthy activities. He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of a football tournament.
“The CDA is taking all-out measures to establish more sports facilities in the city,” Iqbal said and added that sports facilities would enable the people from all walks of life to participate in healthy activities.
Iqbal urged the youth to actively participate in sports events of their choice instead of wasting their time in Internet browsing and other activities. He said the CDA would organise different sports events in the city to attract the youngsters towards sports activities. Continue reading

Society’s merger with Bahria Town: ACE restrained from probing case

RAWALPINDI, July 11: The Lahore High Court (LHC)’s Rawalpindi bench on Wednesday restrained the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) from probing the alleged unlawful merger of 2,882 kanals of the Revenue Employees Cooperative Housing Society (RECHS) land with Bahria Town.

Bahria Town

Bahria Town (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hearing the intra-court appeal filed by the management of Bahria Town, the court, however, dismissed its request to stop the trial court from proceeding against property tycoon Malik Riaz in the 1,401 kanal land fraud case.

The petitioner had challenged the June 21 ruling of Justice Chaudhry Shahid Saeed in which the judge had declared the merger as illegal and directed Bahria Town to compensate RECHS affected persons within two months and also asked the ACE to initiate action against those behind the illegal deal materialised in 2005.

The division bench, comprising Justice Chaudhry Mohammad Younus and Justice Ali Baqir Najfi, issued notices to the ACE and other respondents and adjourned the hearing till the last week of July.

Ilyas Sheikh, the Bahria Town counsel, told the court that the merger was done in accordance with the law, adding not only all the legal requirements had been fulfilled but also approval had been taken from the then chief minister Punjab. According to the counsel, RECHS had become a dead society and at the time of the merger it owned 2,300 kanals of land with 1,969 members in its north and south residential sectors.

He claimed that the Bahria Town (BT) management had initially compensated most of the society members; 432 were approached later and 52 members could not be traced.

He contended that the single bench had announced the decision in favour of the affected petitioners without hearing the arguments of Bahria Town. The counsel requested the court to restrain the ACE from probing the matter.

He added that the BT was willing to compensate the RECHS affected members within two months, requesting the court to appoint an arbitrator for the evaluation of the land of the affected members.

Rashid Hafeez, the assistant advocate general Punjab representing the ACE, told the court that RECHS administrator, who had decided the merger, was not competent to sign the deal with the private housing society.

The affected members of the RECHS requested the court to provide them an opportunity to present their view but the court rejected their request. Continue reading