ISLAMABAD-Coming hard on the tax officers, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Wednesday said Federal Board of Revenue had to achieve the annual tax collection target of Rs 1604 billion at every cost. Addressing the Chief Commissioners Conference of Inland Revenue Service on Wednesday, the finance minister said tax officers should work efficiently regarding tax collection otherwise they should quit their offices. He said country was facing several challenges, however, we need determination to resolve the economic issues, he added. He asked the Chairman of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to assign revenue collection target to the tax commissioner and seek monthly reports from them in this regard. The government would give reward to officers, who would achieve the tax collection target, he said. The Finance Minister cautioned the tax officers to focus on their working instead of watching television or reading newspapers at their offices. He said all the officers should have to be more alert and active and warned there will be zero tolerance for inefficient officers. The people want that we have to be independent and in this regard have to generate our own resources, he said, adding that we are ready for negotiating with anyone regarding economic situation. He vowed that all the rich people would be brought under tax net and the collected money would be spent on the welfare for the poor. About tax to GDP ratio, Hafeez said countries like Pakistan had increased the said ratio to 15 per cent while in some cases it is around 20 per cent. If other countries could enhance the tax to GDP ratio, then why cant we, he questioned. Earlier, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Salman Siddique informed that the government would increase the General Sales Tax to 16 per cent from existing eight per cent besides withdrawing 50 per cent subsidy on sugar. Market sources said the decision would result increase of Rs 5 per kilogramme. He said the government is trying to broaden the existing tax base, as work is already started in this regard, he added. On withdrawal of GST exemptions, FBR Chairman informed that some exemptions have been allowed under SROs and these can be withdrawn through the same. However, some GST exemptions were allowed through legislation and these would require amendments through parliament in the relevant legislation for withdrawal.