ISLAMABAD (July 22 2003) : The government is considering to set up a high-level watchdog body (Revenue Reforms Commission) to effectively monitor/evaluate the performance of Central Board of Revenue (CBR) ensuring timely implementation of tax administration reforms by meeting revenue target and fulfilling World Bank (WB) conditionalities.
The constitution of this commission is necessary for implementing reforms agenda devised by CBR.
CBR sources told this corespondent on Monday that the proposed Revenue Reform Commission would have the authority to negotiate with international donors like World Bank (WB) on all issues pertaining to CBR.
The commission would operate over and above the tax agency and a top government official would be its chairman. Other three CBR members include; Chairman CBR as (Executive Member); Member Policy and Tax Reforms (Member) and Program Director, Member Secretary of the Commission.
This high powered body would identify shortcomings in implementation of tax reforms policy vis-…-vis revenue collection and give recommendations to unearth tax evasion in suspected sectors.
Sources said that the CBR chairman is responsible for running day-to-day business of the tax agency apart from concentrating on organisational/restructuring of the tax machinery.
These responsibilities could restrict Chairman's ability to carry out massive reform in CBR.
Similarly, Chairman CBR and his team of economic managers mainly concentrate on current issues like revenue targets, pressure groups, controlling evasion, trade/international agreements and human resource development.
There is need of a supervisory body, which could monitor and assist CBR to enforce tax reforms.
Revenue Reform Commission would have the objective of managing and implementing the program of reform plan for the improvement of management of internal resource mobilisation and structure and management of revenue collection proving a strong foundation to self reliant economy.
The commission would assist CBR for making changes in the laws relating to organisation, human resource and tax administration changes to make them suitable for meeting overall reform objectives.
It would help CBR to prep the indirect taxes in the context of globalisation and give recommendations for its rationalisation.
Furthermore, it will give recommendations to unearth tax frauds and ensure transparency and accountability in revenue collection.
The commission would initiate, monitor and follow up reform activities across the board, but main focus would be on organisational changes, human resource development, administration of direct/indirect taxes under the scheme of self-assessment, risk management, automation and taxpayer facilitation.
Sources said that the fund provided by the World Bank is a loan, which is linked with the fulfilment of planned activities and achievement of set goals.
If the said targets are not achieved the money will be withheld by the bank and a considerable burden will fall upon the budget.
Secondly, the loan is an investment ,which has to be repaid. The increased efficiency is expected to cover the instalment on the loan.
If the condition are not fulfilled, the banks' funds will not be available or the funds required to repay the loan will not be created.
It is therefore the reason for the commission on a level above the CBR corresponding to the influence of the consequences from a failure, sources said.