ISLAMABAD - The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has banned all kind of leaves of its officials in order to achieve mammoth annual tax collection target of Rs3,621 billion during ongoing financial year 2016-17.

The FBR is struggling to achieve the tax target during current fiscal year, as the shortfall had reached to Rs160 billion. The FBR had collected Rs1,915 billion during first eight months (July-February) of the year 2016-17 against target of Rs2,076 billion, reflecting a shortfall of Rs161 billion. It is expected that this shortfall would increase during the remaining four months of the current fiscal year.

The government had set ambitious target of Rs3,621 billion for the ongoing fiscal year. FBR’s former chairman Nisar Mohammad Khan had already admitted that tax collection target is unrealistic. During Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, he said that revenue collection target of Rs3.621 trillion was high and seemingly unrealistic. The shortfall occurred due to the reduction in sales tax on oil prices and zero rating for exports sectors, as a hit of Rs90 billion in sales of petroleum products and Rs14 billion due to zero rating of five export-oriented industries.

Therefore, the FBR has banned all leaves of the officials. “It has been observed with concern that the Field Formations of FBR are forwarding requests for grant of leave, including ex-Pakistan leave on daily basis despite the fact that the 3rd quarter of the current financial year is coming to close and the entire tax machinery is required to accelerate its efforts to achieve budgetary targets through full determination and devotion,” stated an official circular issued by the FBR on Wednesday.

“In view of the above, the authority has desired that requests for grant of ex-Pakistan leave may not be forwarded to the board by the respective Heads of Field Formations till June 30, 2017. All such cases will be processed in the board at the beginning of next financial year”, the circular concluded.