ISLAMABAD-Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Tuesday gave some kind of hope to the civil servants to increase their salaries in the upcoming budget 2014-15 after Federal Cabinet to consider the fiscal space and inflation level of the country.

“The federal cabinet will consider the raise in salaries of the public sector employees in the next budget”, Ishaq Dar said while addressing FBR’s commissioners’ conference. Rejecting the media reports that the government has decided not to increase the salaries of public sector employees in the next budget, Ishaq Dar categorically stated that the decision in this regard will be taken keeping in view the fiscal space and inflation level before the budget.

Earlier, the Finance Minister in a written reply to the National Assembly in late March has stated, “At present, there is no such proposal under consideration to increase the pay and pension of government employees during budget 2014-15”. However, taking U-turn on it, Ishaq Dar on Tuesday tried to clarify that government would consider the salaries raise issue.

Similarly, the Finance Minister clarified that government has not decided to increase the tax rates, which would be decided three four days prior to the budget. Once again Ishaq Dar tried to clarify his statement given at Washington regarding increasing tax rates, as he said, “I have told the media that government will have to increase the tax net, but the news channels have expelled the word, tax, which meant the government will increase taxes”.

Talking about the recent auction of Eurobonds in international market worth of $2 billion, Ishaq Dar said that Pakistan has entered into global market after seven years, which was a success story and our bond oversubscribed many times.

The Finance Minister, during his visit to FBR, reviewed the planning to achieve the revised revenue collection target for the ongoing financial year 2013-14. Ishaq Dar has given approval to for revenue collection target of Rs 770 billion for the remaining quarter (April to June) of the financial year 2013-14 to achieve the revised target of Rs 2,345 billion.

The government has missed annual revenue collection target of Rs 2475 billion and downward revised it to Rs 2345 billion, which still a challenging target for the tax department. During his remarks, the Finance Minister has said that FBR has collected Rs 1574 billion during nine months (July-March) of the current fiscal year, which is 16.4 percent higher than the collection of Rs 1352 billion of the previous year. However, he stressed the tax officers to expedite the efforts to achieve the revised tax collection target.

The Finance Minister said Rs214 billion were collected in the month of March against the target of Rs 230 billion. From now onward the FBR will have to collect Rs257 billion per month in remaining quarter (April to June) to achieve the revenue collection target.

He said the present government has doubled expenditures on the welfare of poor. The expenditures on the poor segments have been enhanced from Rs40 billion to Rs75 billion.

Ishaq Dar said the economic indicators are showing positive trends and the same have been endorsed by the international financial institutions. GDP has witnessed growth while the inflation level has also come down. The appreciation of Pakistani rupee has reduced our debt by Rs700-800 billion.