Prime Minister Imran Khan said yesterday that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been asked to become fully digitised by July 2021, which would help the government increase tax collection and allocate more resources to the social sector and increase spending on human capital.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of e-bidding, e-billing, and GIS (geographic information system) mapping system of the National Highways Authority (NHA), Khan described corruption as primary hindrance to the development of the country.
The prime minister stated that “it is regrettable that, as a society, we have accepted ‘commission’, bribe and corruption”.
He added that he wanted total digitalisation in the FBR by July 2021, and this has been conveyed to them.
Khan said that once done, this would be a major change in the county, with rapid increase in tax collection that would enable the government to increase spending on the social sector.
The prime minister said that other ministries have also been directed to adopt automation by this summer.
Khan said that the country is moving towards digitisation and transparency through e-bidding, e-billing, and GIS mapping from the NHA, and after the NHA, digitisation would be accomplished at the FBR, to be followed in the other departments and ministries.
The prime minister said that most of the (payment of) “commission” (kickbacks) is being generated or realised through construction of roads being carried out by the NHA.
He said that there has been a lot of corruption in the award of contract through manual bidding, and remarked that with the introduction of the e-bidding system, there would be transparency in award of contracts and the menace of “commission” and bribe would be eliminated, as the reduction of human interaction in the billing system (following the introduction of e-billing) would reduce the incidence of bribery.
The prime minister said that digitisation is important to deal with the challenges of “commission” and corruption, “but the status quo does not want automation … it wants to continue with the system of corruption for their personal gain”.
Khan said that no country could progress with a society that accepts the system of bribes, “commissions”, and corruption.
The prime minister also referred to the Broadsheet “revelations”, and stated that the person who gave interview narrated how money was being stolen from Pakistan and sent abroad.
He said the Broadsheet also revealed that one Pakistani transferred over $100,000 from Saudi Arabia to London.
Minister for Communication Murad Saeed said that e-procurement, e-billing, and GIS mapping system are being launched in the NHA to do away with the menace of “commission” and corruption.
He said that GIS mapping is being initiated to monitor around 12,000 roads, all the commercial activities taking place along the highways and roads, as well as to have information about the assets.
“We have so far recovered Rs20bn, in addition to Rs4bn from those who had illegally encroached/occupied the NHA land,” he said, adding that 6,147km of road projects will be started in the next four months.
Saeed added that these roads are being initiated through public-private partnership.
The communication ministry secretary said that the NHA awards around Rs200bn in contracts annually, and that with the new e-bidding system, the award of contracts would be more transparent.
He added that with the NHA undertaking 32 projects and making Rs155bn in payments, the e-billing system would reduce human interaction and bring about transparency in the payment system.
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