ISLAMABAD: The finance minister informed the National Assembly on Thursday that the Federal Board of Revenue had over the past year filed cases against 166 tax defaulters who collectively owed nearly Rs30 billion to the national exchequer.
During 2009-10, the FBR issued notices to 114 defaulters of over Rs10 billion. Fifty-two taxpayers against whom the bureau had tax claims of Rs18 billion have obtained stay orders from various appellate forums.
Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh provided the information in response to a question raised by Mohammad Riaz Malik of the PML-N.
At a recent meeting of the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly, FBR officials said the bureau was stuck in litigation in superior courts against thousands of tax-evaders who owed about Rs100 billion to the exchequer.
They said the FBR had tax claims of Rs37 billion against a number of people who had gone to the Supreme Court and they were not in a position to do anything but to wait for verdicts.
Over 6,000 cases were pending in high courts, they added.
The Chief Justice of Supreme Court recently constituted a separate bench to hear tax-related pending cases.
In reply to a supplementary question raised by Fauzia Ijaz of the MQM about the unclean and dishonest tax collection system, Minister of State for Finance Hina Rabani Khar said she was fighting to eliminate “massive corruption” in the FBR.
But Ms Khar also blamed people “willing to bribe and give the hand willing to take are the reasons for corruption. Society is to be blamed for unwillingness to pay taxes.”
She said that more than 2.3 million taxpayers filed Rs528 billion in returns. About 1.5 million of them were salaried people who paid Rs35 billion in taxes. “The remaining taxes came from nearly 640,000 business houses,” Ms Khar said, adding that a lot more could be recovered from the business community.
FOREIGN LOANS: The finance minister informed the National Assembly that the total amount of foreign loans stood at $53.770 billion as on Sept 30 — $44.862 billion public and policy guaranteed loans and $8.908 billion IMF loans. The government repaid $8.66 billion foreign loans during the financial year 2009-10.
WRITTEN-OFF LOANS: In a written reply, Dr Hafeez said that Rs74.384 billion loans had been written off during 2008-09 by private, public and foreign banks operating in the country.
Among the public sector banks, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited wrote off loans of Rs3.44 billion, National Bank of Pakistan Rs3.186 billion, SME Bank Limited Rs679 million and Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan Rs525 million.
United Bank Limited (private sector) waived Rs12.517 billion loans and Habib Bank Limited Rs7.167 billion.
Standard Chartered Bank Limited (foreign bank) had to bear the burnt of bad loans of Rs16.053 billion, followed by Citibank Rs8.189 billion and the Royal Bank of Scotland Rs5.2 billion.
DISMISSAL: The lower house was informed that 593 personnel of the Frontier Constabulary had been dismissed from service over the past two years.
Answering a question put up by Mian Marghoob Ahmad of the PML-N, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the FC personnel had been removed on the charges of showing cowardice and not obeying lawful orders of senior officers in operational areas.