ISLAMABAD-The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has surpassed the thrice revised tax collection target by Rs50 billion during the fiscal year, 2019-20 that ended yesterday (Tuesday).

The FBR has collected Rs3957 billion during fiscal year 2019-20 as against the revised tax collection target of Rs3907 billion. Meanwhile, the FBR has also met the monthly tax collection target, as it has collected Rs411 billion in the month of June as compared to the target of Rs398 billion. Officials said that tax collection would further increase when the final data will be compiled.

According to FBR, this is the first time in the history that FBR has managed to achieve the target of four trillion rupees in a financial year which is particularly commendable in the wake of ongoing Corona outbreak. It is pertinent to mention that FBR has lost more than thirty employees due to Corona Virus which also include a grade-22 Customs Officer Muhammad Zahid Khokhar. FBR employees have been performing their duties with great devotion and zeal particularly in such dangerous situation when their own lives were at stake due to Corona outbreak, the FBR said in a statement.

The federal government had downward the tax collection target several times in previous fiscal year. Initially, the federal government had set tax collection target at Rs5.55 trillion for the last financial year. But it was revised downward to Rs5,238 billion after first review of IMF under $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme. However, the FBR has struggled to achieve its monthly targets, which led to further reduce the target to Rs4.8 trillion. Later, after Covid-19, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) further slashed down the FBR’s tax collection target to the tune of Rs3,907 billion for outgoing fiscal year. The government had missed its initial tax collection target of Rs5.55 trillion by Rs1.647 trillion during ongoing financial year.

However, the FBR had surpassed the thrice tax collection target of Rs3907 billion by Rs50 billion in last fiscal year. Due to the massive shortfall in tax collection, the country’s budget deficit would massively increase during ongoing financial year. The government had already projected that Pakistan’s budget deficit would swell to 9.6 percent of the GDP due to closure of businesses and restricted economic activity due to the lockdown situation. The ministry of finance in monthly Economic Update has noted that fiscal deficit reduced to 5.3 percent of GDP (Rs 2222 billion) during July-April period of FY2020 against 5.6 percent of GDP (Rs 2128 billion) last year. Meanwhile, primary balance posted a deficit of Rs 205 billion (-0.5 percent of GDP) against the deficit of Rs 546 billion (-1.4 percent of GDP) last year. However, the government would reduce it to 7 percent of the GDP in next fiscal year.

The federal government had once again set ambitious tax collection target of Rs4.963 trillion for the newly started fiscal year. The independent economists believed that government might once again struggle to achieve this target without imposing any new tax in the budget. Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had also termed the annual tax collection target of Rs 4.963 trillion for next fiscal year as ambitious, which would be collected once country’s economic activities accelerate after Covid-19.