Monday October 03, 2022

FBR chief assures PM of meeting Rs6.1tn tax collection target

April 16, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Dr Mohammad Ashfaque, the incumbent Chairman FBR, whose fate currently hangs in precarious balance, has assured Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif of accomplishing the upwardly revised tax collection target of Rs6.1 trillion for the current fiscal, which is seen as an uphill task given the situation.

In a bid to ensure his survival in a last-ditch effort, the incumbent chairman FBR has given the same commitment to the expected adviser to the PM on finance and revenue, Miftah Ismail.

The FBR’s tax collection target was revised upward from Rs5.8 trillion to Rs6.1 trillion on the eve of the 6th review of International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) $6 billion Extended Fund Facility programme on the multilateral lender’s behest. The government can either send the chairman home right now or after the announcement of the budget 2022-23. There are no other considerations.

“The alignment of incumbent chairman FBR is crystal clear, but we will first ask him what his choice is and then take the ultimate decision,” one of the top aides of the PM said while talking to The News.

The government has asked the chairman to share the ratio of tax collection from imports and domestic side for the current fiscal year.

The incumbent chairman FBR comes from Inland Revenue Service (IRS) Group and is currently serving in BS-21. He stands at number 17th on the seniority list of IRS officers. On the customs side, there are around 7 to 8 officers senior than Dr Ashfaque.

However, PM Shahbaz has directed Dr Ashfaque to pull up his socks and meet the revised target in line with the IMF conditions.

“The IMF programme should remain on track and the FBR must achieve the desired tax collection target of Rs6.1 trillion …,” Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif was quoted as saying in his meeting with the chairman FBR at PM Office on Friday.

While talking to reporters at the 4th Computerised Balloting of Point of Sale (POS) Prize Scheme ceremony at the board’s headquarters on Friday, the chairman said that the FBR would give another detailed briefing to the PM on the targets of the IMF programme with special focus on tax-related issues next week. It is relevant to mention that the government had agreed with the IMF to abolish income tax exemptions and reduce the number of salaried/non salaried slabs from 13 to 6 in the next budget for 2022-23.

The IMF wants imposition of additional tax to fetch Rs250 billion from salaried and non-salaried class in the coming budget.

The chairman said the PM had directed the tax authorities to meet him with a detailed presentation on different aspects of taxation, revenue forecasting, and ongoing reforms in the tax administration to overhaul administration.

Dr Ashfaque said they were currently engaged with the IMF for the completion of the 7th review under the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility. To a query on the latest tax amnesty scheme, he replied there were general reservations over the amnesty package meant for the industrial sector and they would brief the Prime Minister next week on it.

The revenue collection position, he said, was satisfactory and FBR would be able to achieve its assigned target of Rs6.1 trillion by the end of FY2022.