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Sunday October 24, 2021

Tarin tasks FBR to achieve 20pc tax-to-GDP ratio

September 18, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government is committed to grant operational and financial autonomy to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to prevent political interference and make it an efficient, merit-based, service-oriented, and public-friendly organization. This was stated by Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue Shaukat Tarin while addressing the senior officers at FBR Headquarters on Friday.

Tarin asked the FBR to follow the ambitious target of taking the tax-to-GDP ratio to 20pc in the next 6-8 years. He appreciated last year’s commendable performance of FBR on meeting revenue targets despite challenges posed by Covid-19. He said the FBR was on track to achieving this year’s target of Rs5,829 billion and it has already surpassed the target with a margin of Rs160 billion in the first two months. He hoped the FBR would spare no effort to not only achieve the assigned revenue target of Rs5.8 trillion but also exceed the same by wide margins.

“The broadening of tax base is one of the top priorities of my team for the current year and we have constituted committees comprising private sector experts, NADRA, and FBR officers who are working on the objective tirelessly.” He said these committees are also working on the assessment of resource constraints of FBR, especially the finances and logistics, and would recommend ways and means to overcome them. “The other flagship initiative is Point of Sales Integration which aims at recoding the real-time transactions at the retail level and has huge potential to increase the revenue of the state,” he continued.

The finance minister also spoke about the progress on the Track & Trace project which would be rolled out from November following vacation of stay granted by one of the honorable high courts and added he has approved Rs432 million for the project. Highlighting the importance of digitization of FBR, Tarin said automation in the tax system would bring transparency and reduce discretionary powers. He pledged to provide the required funds for digitization and added that Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs3.8 billion had already been approved to upgrade the IT systems and their security.

Commenting on Pakistan Single Window (PSW) project, he said under the system, over 70 departments would converge on one platform to facilitate the business community.

He appreciated the FBR for making significant headway towards harmonization of sales tax between the Federation and the federating units under the umbrella of National Tax Council. He also appreciated the Integrated Transit Trade Management System (ITTMS) and called it a landmark project, which would connect Central Asia to South Asia.

Earlier, Chairman FBR, Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, elaborated that the government’s priority was to create an enabling environment for trade and businesses, especially for the SMEs through simplification of laws and procedures, and to stimulate economic activity. The “FBR being cognizant of this vision has taken a number of concrete measures to translate it into reality,” he said.

The chairman FBR said under Tarin’s leadership, economic stability had been achieved which was elusive before. “Now the country is on the path to economic growth,” he added. He hoped that the growth trajectory would bring about prosperity, resulting in employment and economic empowerment of people.