By generating Rs57 billion above July’s modest Rs243 billion tax collection target, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has come one step closer towards meeting its yearly figure. The start of the new fiscal year signals financial recovery, if the collection rates are anything to go by. Countering the economic stagnation that ensued due to COVID-19 needs to be actively worked on, and a collection target met is important in our recovery.

Given the fact that we’re a month into the new fiscal year, the progress achieved is prominent. It indicates that the ultimate objective of meeting the annual target is understood and measures are being taken to manoeuvre through the hardships faced. Increasing supervision, disposing off corrupt officers, restructuring the tax machinery, engaging with the industry and counteracting the import compression policy are just a few of the ways through which FBR should be able to induce efficiency and incorporate more accountability.

But perhaps we should not be too quick to celebrate. It is worth mentioning that the newly appointed FBR chairman, Javed Ghani, set a careful target in comparison to previous years—one that could be achieved easily. As such, the 6 percent increase should be taken with a grain of salt. The fact of the matter is, the annual Rs4.963 trillion target still remains and needs to be achieved through exploring multifaceted avenues of revenue collection.

As businesses resume operations, we stand at the precipice of economic revival with imports picking up and sales tax collection increasing by 57 percent. Surely, if the same standard persists, achieving the six-monthly revenue target of Rs969.5 billion should be no mean feat, but at what cost? If imports keep rising and exports do not, the government may be able to meet its collection rates, but would fail on other, self-assigned economic targets. With a month in, there is no sure-fire way to accurately predict what the next year holds in store for the national economy.