Revenue collection in August goes up by 45pc

Published September 1, 2021
The revenue collection in August rose to Rs434 billion, an increase of 45pc from last year’s figure of Rs300bn. — Reuters/File
The revenue collection in August rose to Rs434 billion, an increase of 45pc from last year’s figure of Rs300bn. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The newly appointed chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Dr Ashfaq Ahmad, on Tuesday unveiled a roadmap for restructuring tax machinery and declared robust growth of 45 per cent in revenue collection in the second month of the current fiscal.

The revenue collection in August rose to Rs434 billion, an increase of 45pc from last year’s figure of Rs300bn, according to the provisional figures released by Dr Ahmed at a press conference at the FBR headquarters.

The collection rose by Rs85bn or 24pc against the target set for the month, he said. Between July and August, the revenue collection reached Rs849bn against the target of Rs690bn projected for the same months, which was surpassed by Rs159bn or 23pc.

The revenue grew by 41pc when compared with last year collection of Rs603bn during the same months.

FBR chief unveils roadmap for restructuring tax machinery

Dr Ahmed claimed that the FBR had made significant achievements during the Covid-19 crisis.

The government, while preparing the budget for the ongoing fiscal year, had assured the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of raising Rs5.829 trillion in FY22 against Rs4.721tr collected in FY21.

Based on the performance of the first two months of current fiscal, Dr Ahmed said he was optimistic to achieve the revenue collection target for the current fiscal. “We will achieve our revenue target as the economy has already picked up momentum,” he said.

Dr Ahmed elaborated that his focus would be on automation, facilitation of taxpayers, simplification of tax laws, improving tax enforcement and taking measures of ease of doing business. He further said that his priority focus will be on revenue generation while also focusing on reforms.

One of the priorities, he said, was that information technology equipment would be upgraded under a World Bank-funded project.

He was supported by the FBR IT member who said biddings were in final stage for the purchase of the equipment.

He ruled out the hacking of taxpayers’ data in a recent cyber-attack.

In response to a question, the FBR chairman clarified that the resignation of the chief executive officer of the Pakistan Revenue Automation Pvt Ltd was not linked with the cyber-attack on FBR data system.

Dr Ahmed said it was not the mandate of the FBR to repatriate assets of overseas Pakistanis. He said the FBR could only tax untaxed amount of the people who had not declared their foreign assets in their returns.

Asked about the taxing of foreign assets of Pakistanis, the chairman said in the first two years of the incumbent government, Pakistan received data about the assets of Pakistanis abroad under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s tax convention. However, he said, all those people had whitened their untaxed money through the tax amnesty scheme announced by the incumbent government. “We have to implement the order of the parliament and the government as implementing body”, the chairman said.

Dr Ahmed, who also holds the post of director general international tax, did not disclose the exact number of people having foreign assets who have availed the tax amnesty.

To another question on laxity in the implementation of benami and money laundering laws, the chairman said progress had been made in both areas. However, he did not support his claim with sharing of any data.

Member Customs Tariq Huda said tangible progress was made in the areas of anti-smuggling measures, which yielded the desired results. He said steps were taken for controlling currency smuggling in the country.

To another question, the FBR chairman said he was against traditional reforms. However, he claimed that he would restructure the FBR headquarter and field formations.

He said he enjoyed full political support and would implement the restructuring plan.

The chairman said anti-smuggling drive would continue in the current fiscal. As a result, regular imports of smuggling-prone items would increase.

According to Mr Ahmed, the amount of refunds disbursed in August was Rs14bn compared to Rs15bn of last year, showing a decline.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2021

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