Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, said that the revenue target of Rs. 4.90 trillion for the fiscal year 2020-21 was achievable.
However, he linked it to the decline of the coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing a webinar, organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), on “Pakistan Post-COVID-19 Budget and Economic Measures”, the advisor said that if the virus begins to recede and the economy picks up, the revenue target was achievable.
He added that nothing could be predicted about the coronavirus impact. The losses it inflicted on the national economy have so far been estimated at Rs. 3 trillion. The advisor said that the economy of the country had been progressing well before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that there was no borrowing from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) during the ongoing financial year while supplementary grants were also not provided, adding that the whole world appreciated the performance of Pakistan economy including Moody’s and Bloomberg.
He said that the philosophy of the budget was not to impose new taxes at a time of economic contraction to save the business community from a further burden. Secondly, he added, the budget had a focus on facilitating common citizens, particularly those most affected by the coronavirus.
The advisor expressed the hope to achieve GDP growth target of over 2 percent set for the upcoming fiscal year 2020-21, adding that if corona-affected countries recover from the pandemic, exports will pick up which will have a positive impact economy of Pakistan.
The advisor said that around 1600 tariff lines were brought down in the federal budget 2020-21 to facilitate the business and import sector whereas there has been a reduction in federal excise duty on many products to facilitate business.
He said that the incumbent government inherited an economic crisis from the previous government and that is why it was forced to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and take hard decisions.
He said that the hard decision taken by the government had brought fruitful results and the current account deficit was reduced from the historic high of $20 billion to just $3 billion whereas the stagnant exports were increased and there had also been growth in non-tax revenues.
Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, Chairperson Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Nausheen Javaid said that the 17 percent growth in revenue collection was unprecedented in decades.
She said that the tax collection by June end is expected to grow only by about 4 percent due to the corona factor, hence it will have a negative impact on overall growth percentage of 17 percent achieved before the spread of the pandemic.