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Salman Siddiqui

The Express Tribune

Published Date: Mar 23, 2017

Sindh gears up for its very own ‘property survey’

KARACHI: The Sindh government is set to introduce a property survey throughout the province from April 1, expecting the exercise would help double tax collection through revised valuations.

“The Sindh chief minister and his cabinet have given the go-ahead for the survey,” said Government of Sindh, Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control Director General Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui.
The province collects around Rs1.9 billion in property taxes per year. “This amount is expected to reach around Rs4 billion after the survey,” he said.




He was speaking at a high-level consultative meeting on tax reforms and public-private dialogue in Sindh organised by the Sustainable Policy Development Institute and Centre for International Private Equity.

He said it would be a property rental survey that would help determine new rates of annual taxes on properties. The survey would determine structure of construction, number of floors and rooms in a house, health and conditions of properties and their expected rental values. All this would help tax authorities to determine actual tax potential on properties, he said.

He said the model survey would be first conducted in Sukkur. It would get completed in one year. Later on, the survey would be done in all the districts and cities, including Karachi.

“The survey of the entire province is expected to be completed in two-three years,” he said.

Dealers to register cars

Siddiqui said motor dealers are being given the rights to get new cars registered to facilitate taxpayers from the next fiscal year starting from July 1. “Dealers would register new cars and fix number plate before they hand them over to their owners,” he said.

This would discourage car owners to drive the vehicles without a number plate or with a plate reading AFR (Applied for Registration).

“The facility to car dealers and their buyers would remain under tight vigilance of the government to control its misuse,” he said.

He said the provincial excise and taxation department was collecting seven types of taxes. They have collected Rs43.6 billion last year and have a target of Rs53 billion for the fiscal year in progress.

No more sale deeds in Karachi without completion plans, rules SHC

He said they were collecting highest tax on infrastructure. “73% of the total tax collection comes from the head of infrastructure,” he said.

The second highest collection comes from motor vehicle tax, which stands at 12% of the total collection by the department.

Industries dying

Meanwhile, economist Dr. Kaiser Bengali said the federal and provincial governments have almost no plans to run the country in an effective and efficient way. Their objective of tax collection has minimised to the limit of running their governments rather than supporting the process of industrialisation, investment and creation of job opportunities.

The process of industrialisation has not only stopped in Pakistan after 1977, but is reversing now. “The industries are dying due to higher collection of taxes. Industries pay highest rate of taxes {29% of the total tax collection}, while services and agriculture sectors pay a mere 6% and 0.5% of the total collection, respectively,” he said.

Pakistan remained in the spotlight due to high levels of industrialisation and economic growth in the first 30 years of its formation. But the trend has now reversed.

“I personally know 4-5 major industries {units} have been closed down. And the income generated from the winding up of industries has been invested in the stock and property markets…the country is being operated like a trading shop,” he said.

Economy a top priority

Governor Sindh, Mohammad Zubair, said the economic development of Sindh remained the number one agenda on his part, as it was part of his party election manifesto of 2013.

“It was I who highlighted the poor law and order situation and electricity deficit as the two major issues of Karachi and hindrance in the way of economic progress all over the country,” he said.

SBP’s take on overseas property purchases

“Karachi is the economic hub of Pakistan and economic development here has an economic impact of about 10 times the impact any other part of the country has,” he said.

“Now, the security has improved 80%. This is the time to market and launch long term economic projects.”