CCI forms body on agro income tax


The Council of Common Interest (CCI) decided on Wednesday to form a committee to streamline the procedure and collection of agricultural income tax by provinces to improve the national tax-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, as well as to provide more resources for provincial development projects. A CCI meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, deliberated upon seven agenda items and decided to constitute a committee of the federal government and all provincial governments to develop a uniform approach and reconcile the policy in order to harmonise the agricultural income tax, which was primarily the responsibility of the provinces and already levied under provincial laws.
The meeting, convened on short notice, observed that the agricultural income tax was already levied but the system for its collection had to be improved. The improvement would not only help the provinces finance their development schemes but also improve the national tax-to-GDP ratio, it stated. The CCI agreed in principle to a proposal to streamline the revenues of federal regulatory authorities such as the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. It was also decided that the suggestions of the provinces would be subsequently explored. It was proposed that the amount over and above the budgetary requirements collected by various regulatory authorities in the shape of licence fees, penalties and fines would be deposited in the Federal Consolidated Fund.
In the wake of increased responsibilities of the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, a Draft Amendment Bill 2011 was presented before the CCI, which was unanimously approved. It was decided that the budget, including salaries of the employees, of National Education Foundation and National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) till June 30, 2011 would be cleared by the federal government, while NCHD Chairwoman Dr Nafeesa Shah would consult the provinces on the future of the two organisations. It was also decided that the Water and Power Ministry would negotiate with the Sindh government on proportionate sharing of water according to the Water Accords by all provinces so that an annual allocation of 200 cusecs of drinking water for Islamabad could be made.