Leghari chairs 2nd ministerial committee meeting

LAHORE:Provincial Finance Minister Sardar Mohsin Khan Leghari chaired the second meeting of the cabinet ministerial committee on resource mobilization, here on Wednesday.

Provincial Minister for Revenue Nawabzada Mansoor Ahmad, Provincial Minister for Excise and Taxation Sardar Asif Nakai, Provincial Minister for Agriculture Hussain Jahanian Gardezi, chief secretary, SMBR Zahid Akhtar Zaman, secretary finance, Special Secretary Mohammad Ali Randhawa, secretary excise and taxation, secretary health and representatives of the concerned departments attended the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the tax and non-tax revenues collected so far in the current financial year. Special Secretary (Finance) Muhammad Ali Randhawa briefed about the revenue collected by tax and non-tax departments and added that the Punjab Revenue Authority collected more taxes than its set target till the month of October in the current fiscal year.

The excise and taxation department collected 41 percent of the budget estimates while the board of revenue collected 31 percent of the tax. In terms of non-tax, the mines and minerals department collected 38 percent of its revenue estimated in the budget, the police department collected 29 percent and the irrigation department collected 13 percent.

However, the pace of revenue collection in the health department was very slow, while the education department managed to achieve 28 percent of its budget estimates.

The five-point agenda of the meeting included a discount on production index unit on the transfer of land ownership rights to farmers on government lands in Cholistan, a revision of the tax collection policy under the universal health insurance programme and a concession in property tax to 14 union councils of Rawalpindi. The ministerial committee proposed to give a 25 percent discount in production index units for a fixed period to farmers on government lands in Cholistan for the transfer of ownership rights of land up to 12 hectares. A consensus was expressed on the reduction of surcharge for those who paid full dues in the current financial year instead of concession in property tax to 14 union councils of Rawalpindi.

The finance minister directed the board of revenue to maintain transparency in the transfer of lands in Cholistan. It should be ensured that the concession given to farmers cultivating on government land is limited to them only, he emphasized. Health facilities in government hospitals should also be improved so that people prefer treatment in the public sector instead of the private hospitals. The timelines for filing health insurance claims for private and public sector hospitals should be identified. The registration system of private hospitals should be made effective, said the provincial minister and mandated all the government departments to inform the finance department about their monthly revenue plans.