Relief in property tax: Punjab govt to lose Rs 270m annually
LAHORE: The Punjab government will lose Rs 270 million annually because of the exemption in property tax on five-marla houses, Excise and Taxation Department sources told Daily Times on Thursday.
The source said the reduction in entertainment tax from 30 percent to 15 percent would cause the government a loss of Rs 310 million.
Professional tax on doctors has been decreased to the level it is for lawyers. Tobacco sellers with a business volume of Rs 1 million would have to pay a fee of Rs 2,000 annually, while contractors and suppliers would pay a fee of Rs 500. The sources said such fees would not contribute much to the province’s revenue but increase the network of professional taxpayers.
Stamp duty on the registration of new companies with the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has been abolished to attract more traders to get their businesses registered. “The government was earning very little under the head of registration fees but the fee was keeping a lot of businessmen away from registering with the SECP,” the sources said.
Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Dr Shafique Chaudhry said the government had reduced taxes to expand the tax-net. The minister said his department was expecting an eight to 10 percent increase in revenue collection in 2004-05 as compared to revenue in 2003-04.
He said that the government would set a final target after July 5 when the revenue receipt details for 2003-04 are complete.
300 new schemes in Access to Justice Programme: The Punjab government plans to establish a state-of-the-art prosecution service at an estimated cost of Rs 500 million in the next financial year, though the scheme has not yet been approved and does not have an allocation in the 2004-05 budget.
According to the Annual Development Programme, the scheme will be launched under the Access to Justice Programme (AJP). The 2004-05 budget has Rs 500 million for more than 300 schemes to be launched under the AJP.
These schemes include the construction of 816 death cells in 25 jails, construction of a women’s jail in Faisalabad, acquisition of land for the construction of a women’s and juvenile jail in Rawalpindi, setting up a borstal institute and juvenile jail in Sahiwal, construction of additional barracks and toilets in jails besides construction of new district jails.
The programme includes the construction of judges’ houses, courtrooms, a library at the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench and the second phase of electronic documents management system at the LHC principal seat in Lahore. Under the AJP, 292 schemes were launched in 2003-04, of which 116 will be completed by June 30.
Rs 40m for information, culture and youth affairs: The Punjab government allocated Rs 40 million for ongoing and new schemes at the Information, Culture and Youth Affairs Deepartment. Only one of the five new schemes and two of the three ongoing schemes had been approved.
Punjab Culture Secretary Taimur Azmat, however, was hopeful that the government would approve the unapproved schemes. The government set aside Rs 30.569 million for the five new schemes. The Ustad Nustrat Fateh Ali Khan Auditorium, Faisalabad Arts Council and Bagh-e-Jinnah Open Air Theatre are among the approved ongoing schemes. The improvement, upgrade and extension of Lahore Museum remained unapproved.
The only approved project among the new schemes is the construction of an IMAX cinema theatre in Lahore at a cost of Rs 2 million. The establishment of a museum at Kalar Kahar, expansion of the enamelled tiles workshop in Multan, improvement of Bahawalpur Museum and protection of archaeological and cultural heritage in Punjab remained unapproved. Rs 15 million has been allocated for cultural and heritage preservation.