ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Mohammad Ishaq Dar, while appreciating endeavours of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), has called for redoubling the efforts to meet the revenue target for fiscal year 2016-17.

The minister said this while chairing a meeting on Monday to review the revenue collection target and preparations for sales tax refunds in cases where the Refund Payment Orders (RPOs) had been issued till June 30, 2016.

It must be remembered that the FBR managed to collect Rs3.1 trillion in the past fiscal year compared to Rs2.6 trillion the year before. However, the collection fell short compared to the Rs4.5 trillion spending, thereby one-third of the spending had to be borrowed.

Nonetheless, the FBR managed to show 4.6% budget deficit as a ratio of GDP, thereby qualifying for IMF’s loan tranche. But a Rs212-billion statistical discrepancy complicates the matter.

In the meeting, the finance minister directed the FBR to make every effort to improve Pakistan’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index.

He shared with FBR officials the outcome of his recent visit to Paris for signing the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

“The French team and the world at large termed the signing of this convention a big step forward,” he said.

On the occasion, FBR Chairman Nisar Mohammad Khan briefed the finance minister about the latest revenue collection figures.

In the first quarter of 2016-17, the revenue collection had been satisfactory and would pick up further after Eid holidays.

The meeting also discussed the tax-related steps required to be taken by the FBR under the Doing Business Reforms Strategy 2016. Among others, the meeting was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.

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