The government has once again blamed the oil prices responsible for missing quarterly revenue collection target despite collecting upto 50 percent General Sales Tax on petroleum products as against the standard rate of 17 percent.

The government had missed the tax collection target by Rs40 billion during first quarter (July-September) of the ongoing financial year, said Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Tariq Bajwa while talking to media after attending MoU signing ceremony by FBR and Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan. He further said that FBR had accumulated Rs600 billion during July-September of the year 2015-16 against the target of Rs640 billion.

Bajwa held the tumbling oil prices responsible and tax refunds for lesser revenue collection during first quarter. He added that FBR has made refund worth of Rs11 billion in three months. He hoped that government would achieve the target of Rs750 billion sets for the second quarter (October to December).

In its desperate attempts to minimise the shortfall, the government had already enhanced the GST rates on petroleum products three times since July this year. The government increased the GST rate on high-speed diesel to the highest ever level of 50 percent from 45 percent for the ongoing month of October. The government had also increased the sales tax rate on motor spirit by half percentage point to 26 percent. Similarly, GST on other petroleum products is higher than the standard rate of 17 percent. However, the government is still blaming oil prices responsible for missing its revenue collection target despite collecting record high level of GST on petrol products.

The government had imposed new taxes worth of Rs253 billion in budget in order to reach the ambitious revenue collection target of Rs3.1 trillion.

Meanwhile, Chairman FBR hinted to maintain withholding tax on banking transactions for non-filers at 0.3 percent for the next month of November. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet will decide to extend 0.3 percent withholding tax on banking transactions for non-filers for another month, as currently the concessional rate of withholding tax of 0.3 percent is effective till end of October, he added.

He further said government and traders are holding negotiations for resolving the issue of withholding tax on banking transactions for non-filers.

The government in budget 2015-16 had imposed 0.6 percent withholding tax on banking transactions for non-tax filers. However, traders across the country reacted on the tax, resultantly government reduced the WHT to 0.3 percent from 0.6 percent. The government under the agreement gave an opportunity to those businessmen who were non-filers to become filers in three months (July to September). Later, the government has extended the time period for another one month (October).

Earlier, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enforce intellectual property rights to facilitate businesses, promote foreign investment and mobilise greater resources for nation-building in the country.

“The signing of this MoU is a significant development as it allows FBR to use data maintained by IPO-Pakistan to crack down on illegal use of IPRs. It is also a tool for detecting original and fake border-trade consignments and curbing smuggling at borders,” said Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa while speaking at the signing ceremony. Director General IPO-Pakistan Engr. Aamir Hasan and Director General IPR Enforcement FBR, Imtiaz Ahmad Khan signed the MoU.

In his address, Tariq Bajwa said FBR had already framed IPR rules while the sharing of IPO data would help structure these rules, which would be subsequently enforced with the help of a software system. He said Pakistan Customs was the guardian of Pakistan’s borders against movement of contraband goods and facilitation of bona-fide trade. It was a major source of revenue to the Government of Pakistan in the form of taxes levied on goods traded across borders. Pakistan Customs was also endeavouring to protect domestic industry and movement of genuine goods through borders.

He said customs and regulatory duties currently amounted up to 15pc of total receipts collected by the Federal Board of Revenue. He said the MOU would not only facilitate sharing of data but also open doors for creating awareness and imparting training about intellectual property issues and taking necessary measures for protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. He said efforts would be made to coordinate with trade associations and other organisations for awareness on intellectual property rights and in extending mutual facilitation in inquiries, investigations and proceedings in IPR offences.

Chairman IPO-Pakistan Shahid Rashid said IPO-Pakistan had close collaboration with IPR Enforcement agencies including FBR to effectively address issues of piracy and counterfeiting in the country. Signing of this MOU with FBR is a milestone towards relentless enforcement drive at our borders.