ISLAMABAD  - Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Thursday admitted the first economic failure of the PML-N government of revising downward annual revenue collection target by Rs 130 billion that would shelve the Prime Minister’s Special initiative scheme. “The government has downward revised the tax collection target to Rs 2345 billion, from Rs 2475 billion, which means that no funds will be released for Prime Minister’s Special initiative scheme”, said Finance Minister while talking to the media. The government had announced Prime Minister’s Special initiative scheme in budget 2013-14 wherein schemes like distribution of laptops, introduction of yellow cab others were planned.

Senator Ishaq Dar informed that government had linked the Prime Minister’s Special initiative scheme with revenue collection target at the eve of budget announcement in June 2013. The federal government had also informed the provincial governments in this regard. The volume of overall public sector development programme has revised to Rs 425 billion from earlier Rs 540 billion.

The government has revised the tax collection target due to inability of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) that is struggling to achieve the target of Rs 2475 billion as shortfall has exceeded than Rs 100 billion in eight months (July-February). The revenue shortfall might reach to Rs 130 billion by the end of current fiscal year. However, the Finance Minister has appreciated the performance of the tax department, which he claimed has achieved 17 percent higher collection in current year compared to last year.

Talking about the cut in assistance to $1 billion from $1.5 billion announced by US President Barack Obama, the Finance Minister said that he is not aware of the development but added that Washington has to reimburse $1.6 billion under coalition support fund to Pakistan. “We will follow the US authorities for fast tracking reimbursement of CSF amount, which can help in building the country’s foreign exchange reserves”, Senator Ishaq Dar said.

He said that Pakistan is looking for trade and investment from United States.

The Finance Minister informed that Pakistan is going for auction of Eurobond worth of $500 million in international market by next month (April). Similarly, he said, “I wrote letter to Etisalat management to release substantial amount from due amount $800 million against privatisation of PTCL, as Pakistan has transferred 62 properties in their favour and remaining is in process”.

On a question, Senator Ishaq Dar said that government would address the concerns of the stakeholders before giving non-discriminatory market access (NDMA) to India.