KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presiding over a meeting of the Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control Department (ET and NC) reviewed its revenue recoveries and found that there was a shortfall of Rs19,977 million in the revenue recoveries during the last nine months of the current financial year 2023-24.

The finance department shared the collection data of the Excise and taxation Department for the last three years, from 2020-21 to 2022-23. It was discovered that the department was supposed to collect Rs335,200 million, but it only managed to collect Rs287,604 million, resulting in a shortfall of Rs47,596 million.

The Chief Minister expressed his disappointment and directed the excise department to focus on improving their recoveries. He also advised the department to explore new taxation regimes, improve the old tax rates, and concentrate on professional tax and provincial excise, which have a large potential.

The meeting was held at the CM House and was attended by Minister Excise Sharjeel Memon, Chief Secretary Asif Hyder Shah, PSCM Agha Wasif, Secretary Finance Fayaz Jatoi, Secretary Excise Saleem Rajput, Special Secretary Finance Nisar Memon, DGs Excise depts Aurangzeb Panhwar and Waheed Shaikh.

The nine-month target of 2023-24: During the last nine months of the financial year 2023-24, the Excise Department has recovered Rs. 87,478 million. However, the department’s target for the same period was Rs. 107,455 million, showing a shortfall of Rs. 19,977 million. The Minister of Excise, Taxation, and Narcotics Control Department, Sharjeel Memon, briefed the Chief Minister on the recovery of several taxes and fees.

The taxes and fees included Professional Tax, Provincial Excise Duty, Motor Vehicles Tax, Cotton Fee, Infrastructure Cess, Entertainment Duty, and others. It is worth mentioning that the property tax has been devolved to local councils.

According to the Minister, the department has to recover Rs. 143,273 million for seven different taxes, cess, and fees during the current financial year. Furthermore, the department has achieved 81.41% of the nine-month target of Rs. 107,455 million, recovering Rs. 87,478 million.

The figures shared by the Minister of Excise show that the department has recovered Rs. 565 million in Professional Tax against a target of Rs. 1460 million, which is 38.72% of the target. The Provincial Excise collection stands at Rs. 5,165 million against a target of Rs. 9692 million, which shows a 53.29% recovery of the target.

The Motor Vehicle Tax had a target of Rs11,351 million against which 68.08% or Rs7,728 million had been recovered. The infrastructure cess target is Rs84,139 million, but the department has recovered 87.78% or Rs73,861 million.

The Chief Minister emphasized that the Professional Tax and Provincial Excise have a vast scope, and therefore, special attention must be paid to their recoveries by bringing in transparency and efficiency. Although Entertainment and Cotton Fees are smaller taxes, they are still essential for the department’s revenue generation.

Mr Shah instructed the minister to propose revised tax rates and explore new tax avenues for inclusion in the upcoming budget.

The Minister of ET and NC, Sharjeel Memon, informed the Chief Minister that he was considering introducing premium number plates for vehicles, including silver, golden, and diamond options, which would be sold to interested buyers through an auction. The baseline prices for these number plates would be fixed after the Chief Minister’s approval, and the initiative would generate significant revenue.

Narcotics Control: Regarding narcotics control, the minister informed the Chief Minister that his department had detected 27 cases, resulting in the seizure of 665 grams of heroin, 31.3 kg of hashish, 25 grams of cocaine, 1000 grams of ice, 4 kg of crash, and a large number of local and foreign liquor bottles. The Chief Minister commended the minister’s interest in narcotics control and instructed him to coordinate with the police department to launch a joint special operation against the drug mafia.