LAHORE: The Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) has claimed that it has increased its tax collection by 23.2% in the first half of fiscal year 2019-20.
As per official statistics, the provincial revenue authority has managed to earn Rs53.2 billion in six months of 2019-20 against Rs43.2 billion in the corresponding period.
PRA has been given a revenue target of Rs166.550 billion for fiscal year 2019-20 against budget estimates of Rs155.58 billion and revised estimates of Rs105 billion in corresponding year.
“Tax collections for PRA have increased substantially in the first six months despite the fact that collection from the largest services sector (telecommunications) have still not fully recovered from the dip following suspension of sales tax by the Supreme Court,” Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht told media.
The authority has shown substantial increase over the previous year in most major sectors including restaurants (27%), courier (28%), construction (30%), it services (52%), advertising (12%), clubs (92%) and marriage halls (18%).
“PRA’ s total collections are 7.2% more than Federal Board of Revenue (16%) and if we compare our performance with Sindh Revenue Board (12%) we have managed to increase our tax collections by 11.2%,” Hashim added.
PRA relies heavily on information technology. Its major business processes including registration, return filing and tax payments, all are fully automated. It allows the facility for payment of taxes through alternate delivery channels including ATM, phone banking, online banking, as well as across the counter in any commercial bank. This facility has now been extended to other provincial departments through e-Pay application developed by the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB).
“The key to success is embracing technology and moving towards digitisation. We have had an amazing response especially with e-pay, where Rs500 million have been collected in just 100 days,” Hashim said.
Nevertheless, it would be tough for PRA to reach its budgetary targets of Rs166.55 billion, as it has been unable to achieve its desired targets in the past and has continuously revised down its targets.
However, the province is confident of reaching the target this year as it is also working on some issues like utilising risk analysis tools and techniques for mass audits.
The PRA has also unearthed revenue leakages amounting to over Rs40 billion during this financial year and is certain of further enhancing its growth using these analyses as well as other measures like field surveys, data sharing with other departments/organisations and opening of new sub-offices in the province.
The authority is also pursuing the federal government for amounts that have been wrongly credited to the FBR by the National Bank of Pakistan (Rs4.2 billion) and its established cross-input adjustment claims from FBR (Rs19.2 billion).
PRA is confident that success in recovering these amounts as well as the other measures based on outreach and information technology will allow the authority to show massive growth in the current fiscal year.