KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly was informed on Tuesday that a hefty amount of Rs700 million was recovered by the excise and taxation department during the past 11 days of an ongoing campaign against defaulters of motor vehicle tax.
Furnishing a statement during the Sindh Assembly’s Question Hour that pertained to his department, Excise and Taxation Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that the department made the “record” recovery with the cooperation of the people who came up in large numbers to pay the tax.
He also thanked the media for effectively advertising the campaign.
The assembly session, which was scheduled to be held at 10am, commenced at 11.45am with Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari in chair.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan lawmaker Javed Hanif asked if the people were being overcharged under the garb of this campaign.
Dispelling the impression of possible overcharging, the minister said that all payments were collected through pay orders to ensure transparency. He also clarified that evaders or those who had been plying their vehicles without paying the tax were bound to pay dues as well.
To a question by opposition member Arif Mustafa Jatoi, the excise minister said that the National Highways and Motorway Police was a federal agency and their vehicles were registered at Islamabad as their headquarters was located in the capital.
However, he added, if any federal department applied for registration of a vehicle in Karachi, the request was entertained as per law and rules and the registration mark “GP”, reserved exclusively for federal government departments, was allotted to it.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPA Khurram Sher Zaman moved a supplementary question asking about the policy towards allotment of foreign registration number plates.
He said that some MPAs and ministers were also using foreign number plates of Dubai and Qatar and these vehicles could be seen parked on the premises of the assembly. He asked if the excise department issued such registration number plates.
The excise minister said that those vehicles plying with a number plate of foreign countries were allowed by the federal government.
He said that the provincial excise and taxation department registered only custom paid vehicles and the data of vehicles with foreign number plates was with the federal government. However, he would provide it to the members if they wanted.
To another supplementary question by an opposition member, Mr Chawla said that there were 500,000 number plates lying in stores of the department as the people did not turn up to collect them for years. He said that the department could not dispose of those 500,000 number plates, but they were trying to make an up-to-date system. He said that there was issue of space with the excise department for stocking number plates.
To another question, the excise minister said that no staff from any other department was working on deputation in the excise and taxation department. “Nor is any official of the excise department deputed in any other department”, he added.
Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2018