ISLAMABAD  - Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr Shamshad Akhtar on Wednesday directed Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman to make all possible efforts to achieve the revised revenue collection target this year, which seems challenging.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue chaired a meeting to review the performance of the FBR in the current financial year (2017-2018). Sources informed that meeting was informed that FBR would have to collect mammoth Rs661 billion in the ongoing month (June) to meet the revised tax collection target of Rs3.935 trillion for current fiscal year.

The federal government had already revised the tax collection target of FBR to Rs3.935 trillion for the outgoing fiscal year from the Rs4.013 trillion. However, the FBR officials believe that they may not achieve the target, as collecting Rs661 billion in single month is a gigantic task. The FBR had collected Rs3.274 trillion during eleven months (July to May) of the ongoing fiscal year as against Rs2.854 trillion during the same period of the previous fiscal year, registering 14.4 percent growth in collection.

However, one of the officials of FBR is optimistic to achieve the target. “We are hopeful to achieve the revised target,” said an official of the FBR while talking to The Nation. He said that FBR is considering few options including taking advance taxes from companies to increase the tax collection during outgoing fiscal year. He added that FBR is also is expecting to generate additional revenue due to the enforcement of new rates of federal excise duty and customs duty from the last week of May.

During the meeting, Chairman FBR Tariq Mehmood Pasha felicitated the federal minister on assuming her new responsibilities and gave a detailed presentation on the measures so far being taken by the Federal Board of Revenue to achieve the tax collection target, the major steps taken by FBR to facilitate the taxpayers and the key achievements of FBR during the last five years period.

The chairman briefed the minister that the tax to GDP ratio has increased from 8.7pc in 2012-13 to 12.4pc of GDP in 2017-18. He told that the numbers of tax return filers has almost doubled to 1.4 million till 2017-18 and SROs worth Rs300 billion have been eliminated as a major reform to broaden the tax system. He also said that for the facilitation of the taxpayers their CNICs have been adopted as the National Tax Number and the number of tax slabs have been reduced to 4 from 7. He also mentioned the queue management system for the Sales Tax Refund and direct transfer of sales tax refunds into taxpayer’s accounts as major reforms to upgrade the tax system in the country.

The minister, during the meeting, discussed the overall macro-economic condition of the country and the importance of FBR as the major revenue generation source for the government’s operations. The minister stressed the need to improve tax to GDP ratio of the country to fund the development projects. She also sought the feedback from the FBR chief on the impact of different amnesty schemes and tax rebates offered by the previous government on the revenue collection targets. The minister also stressed the need for the upgradation of the tax system through the use of technology. After the meeting, the minister directed chairman FBR to make all possible efforts to achieve the revenue collection target. The hcairman assured the minister of his all possible cooperation on the matter.

The meeting was attended by senior officers of Ministry of Finance and Federal Board of Revenue.