Islamabad: Federal Board Of Revenue (FBR) has planned to buy 155 luxury vehicles worth nearly Rs 1.6 billion in the name of ‘taxpayers’ facilitation out of a foreign loan meant to upgrade its outdated information system.
According to the official documents, the Rs1.6 billion allocated for purchasing vehicles is equal to 8.6% of the funds that the FBR had secured for the upgradation of its outdated hardware and software.
However, it has also been a plan that a World Bank loan will be used to buy these vehicles in the name of ‘taxpayers’ facilitation.
Previously, FBR faced the worst data hacking incidents in its history, which resulted in a loss of data, yet it has not been able to update its data network.
According to the details received by the FBR that it has submitted the documents to the Ministry of Planning for the Investment Project Financing (IPF) components. The cost is nearly Rs 19.6 billion under the World Bank $400 million Pakistan Raises Revenue Project.
A close look into the documents reveals that the FBR plans to pro are 155 luxury vehicles of 1,500cc to 3,000cc. At the same time, the engine capacity itself, as per FBR, is an ‘a luxury’ and is subjected to heavy taxation.
According to the news, a significant portion of the Rs 19.6 billion requested, the FBR, will use to purchase these luxury vehicles. On the other hand, the planning ministry voices opposition to the purchase in a recent meeting.
Before the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) meeting, there will be another meeting to obtain the ministry’s approval.
Each vehicle costs nearly $47,000 or Rs10.3 million, at the old exchange rate of Rs 220 to a dollar. The value of Pakistani currency is going down daily, and the recent increase in prices by car assemblers. It is expected that the price of each vehicle will exceed excess much more than even Rs 1.63 billion.
Due to the dire economic crisis in the nation, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced plans to implement an austerity policy.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced a Rs 170 billion mini-budget. However, his revenue division appears eager to buy cars and use tax dollars for its benefit.
Dar has already notified FBR to stop the misuse of Point Of Sales (POS) funds for personal benefits after a story was revealed in the news.
Last week, the prime minister banned purchasing all types of vehicles until June 2024.
The data reveals that all field formations will get the vehicles. The maximum number of vehicles, almost nine, will be given to the regional tax offices in Islamabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Karachi.
Whereas some regional offices like Quetta, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi will get eight vehicles.
The FBR stated in the documents that it plans to start tax compliance initiatives, including behavioural nudges and ease registration, filing, and paying taxes by reaching out to taxpayers in selected areas in phases.
On the other hand, the planning ministry also objected to allocating $3 million for workshops, training, and staff capacity building.
Whereas the amount of Rs 320.4 million has been allocated for the operational cost of project management. The World Bank approved the project to expand the tax base and planned to update the obsolete data networks.
According to the Ministry, “the sponsors, after a lapse of two years, have submitted the revised PC-I with new equipment requirements and enhanced cost. Only Rs92 million has been utilised within two years. Therefore, the sponsors may clarify whether they can utilise the remaining cost of the project Rs19.5 billion Upto June 2025”.
Now, Pakistan Raises Revenue will use to purchase cars, laptops, and computers. The Rs9.6 billion cost includes Rs596 million on 1,300 desktops and 600 laptops.