Karachi, The Sindh Assembly on Saturday unanimously passed the Sindh Sales Tax on Services (Amendment) Bill into law with a view to harmonize the mode of collection of tax on services by the province.
The bill was moved by the Law Minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro amid support of the lawmakers from the treasury benches hailing it as a historic achievement in authorizing province to collect GST on services as provided under the constitution. The house assembled at 11.25am with Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro in the chair.
Soomro said the province had collected Rs.11 billion in taxes in last six months, while 3,300 tax payers had been registered and computerized by the Sindh government.
MQM Parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed appreciated the huge collection of taxes of Rs. 11 billion by the province. He said the provinces had themselves given federal government right to collect sales tax on four to five items, in defiance of their own right to collect the same.
He maintained that the collection of sales tax on services had earlier been collected by the federal government, however now the province is again authorized to collect it. This is not a new tax, he added.
PPP MPA Humaira Alwani said it was the remarkable achievement of the incumbent government to reclaim their constitutional right. The purported interference of Federal Board of Revenue should also be considered who is reportedly writing letters to different organizations to pay taxes to FBR, she demanded.
Information Minister Shahzia Marri the provinces had constitutional right to collect GST on services; however this right was snatched through an ordinance passed in 2000 by the then military dictator. It s none of our concerns if other provinces are not willing to use their constitutional right, Marri said.
The house deferred the bill no.1 of 2012 on The Establishment of the Office of Ombudsman for the Province of Sindh (Amendment) Bill till January 12.
The house unanimously passed a resolution paying homage to Sindhi Sufi scholar, poet and mystic thinker Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai on his 268th death anniversary falling on January 9 (Monday). The resolution was moved by the Culture Minister Sassui Palejo.
Meanwhile, another resolution hailing services of late founding chairman of Pakistan People s Party was further deferred till Tuesday to allow more members to speak. The resolution reads, this assembly pays tribute to the unparalleled leadership of Quaid-i-Awam, prime minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who gave Pakistan a unanimously approved Islamic constitution and nuclear power; who gave voice and hope to the people of Pakistan; who gave rights to labourers and farmers and protection to women, children and non-Muslims; who created national institutions, united the Muslim world, took stand on Kashmir, stood by People s Republic of China when no one did so; and, above all, sacrificed his life but did not compromise on his principles. The house reaffirms its commitment to follow his vision of a democratic and egalitarian Pakistan.
During the general discussion on resolution on martyred Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, PML-F legislature Nusrat Sehar Abbassi drew attention of the house towards the lack of quorum that Senior Education Minister Pir Mazhar ul Haq also recognized in his response. He said despite informing all the concerned members to remain present during the discussion on resolution but unfortunately many of them did not make it.
In his soft criticism, Pir Mazhar said the honorable lady member should also have pointed out the quorum when the bill was considered for general discussion. He said the house having no opposition would witness such instances.