Revenue target comes into focus in IMF talks

Updated 12 Feb 2020

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Talks with the IMF continued as discussions revolved around the need to further revise the revenue target downward. — Reuters/File
Talks with the IMF continued as discussions revolved around the need to further revise the revenue target downward. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: Talks with the IMF continued as discussions revolved around the need to further revise the revenue target downward. Multiple sources from within the talks confirmed to Dawn that the FBR has proposed up to Rs4.7 trillion as the maximum amount that can be collected this fiscal year whereas the IMF is asking it to aim for Rs4.9tr instead.

The gap implied fresh revenue measures totaling Rs200 billion that would need to be announced in the near future if the authorities fail to convince the fund of their limitations.

The revenue target for the FBR was originally set at Rs5.5tr in the budget for FY2020. It was then revised downward to Rs5.23 billion in the first review that concluded in December 2019. By the end of that year the revenue authority anno­unced a growing shortfall of Rs287 billion in the first six months of the fiscal year.

A few days later the government’s financial advisor paid his first visit to the FBR headquarters in which he reportedly expressed displeasure at this growing shortfall, telling the officers and chief of the revenue authority that continued shortfalls meant either fresh revenue measures to squeeze out more taxes from an already overburdened citizenry and business community, or mounting debt.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2020