Not a penny for Sindh?


Even though the federal government has reopened the routes for NATO under revised tariffs after negotiations with the US, the Sindh government will not receive a single penny for the serious damage caused by the loaded trucks and trawlers as infrastructure cess, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The Sindh’s excise and taxation department is responsible for collecting the levy on the movement of goods that are entering the province from outside the country either through air or sea routes. However, the NATO supplies are not being covered under the cited head despite the fact that the movement of heavy containers and trawlers has caused serious damages to the highways of Sindh from Karachi to Jacobabad.
Interestingly, when the centre had signed the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement, the Sindh government imposed a levy on the consignment of goods for developing the province’s highways. However, this time around, the Sindh authorities were restrained by the federal authorities. Well-placed sources told Pakistan Today that the federal authorities pressed the provincial authorities not to interfere with the matter and instructed the excise and taxation authorities to exempt the Nato goods consignment from any kind of levy.
According to rules of the Sindh government, the infrastructure cess is collected at 0.5 percent of the total consignment on the movement of goods entering the province from outside the country through air or sea. However, after the start of NATO supplies a few years back, the federal government had restrained the provincial authorities of both the Sindh and Balochistan from collecting any kind of levies for infrastructure.
A senior official of the excise and taxation department told Pakistan Today that it was Sindh’s fundamental right to collect infrastructure cess on NATO supplies but pressure from federal authorities was barring it from doing so. The chief minister has been apprised of the issue and it was hoped that he would talk to federal authorities with regards to Sindh’s share of the revenues from the NATO supply routes.
Customs officials get NATO resumption permission : Custom officials in Chaman on Wednesday received orders regarding the resumption of NATO supply routes.
According to reports, Advisor to PM on Interior Rehman Malik telephoned the concerned authorities in Chaman and directed them to prepare for the allowance of NATO supply trucks.
The custom officials received orders via fax from the Ministry of Interior and Federal Board of Revenue. On the other hand, Port Qasim Authority allowed containers’ movement after payment of demurrages.
As the United States apologized over the attack on Salala checkpost, Pakistan on Wednesday ordered its customs authorities to reopen supply routes to NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan, through the Chaman border. The containers are ready to transport oil and food supplies to Afghanistan from Karachi.