ISLAMABAD   -   The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has said that government has indicated to set tax revenue target at Rs.5.5 trillion in the budget, which seemed unrealistic.

The ICCI urged that government should set realistic tax target in next budget that could be achievable and prove beneficial for the economy. Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President (ICCI), said that government is struggling to achieve the tax collection target during ongoing fiscal year.  He further said that tax target of Rs.4.398 trillion was set for fiscal year 2018-19, but during the first 11 months (July-May 2019), FBR managed to collect only Rs.3.303 trillion compared to projected target of Rs.3.751 trillion, showing a shortfall of around Rs.448 billion. He said FBR has to collect over Rs.1 trillion in June, which seemed almost impossible.

Rafat Farid, Senior Vice President, and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi, Vice President, said that all revenue heads including customs, income tax, sales tax and excise duty missed the collection targets, which should be a cause of concern for policy makers. They said that flawed tax system was contributing less than 10 percent to GDP due to which the economy was facing rising deficits. They said a country like Pakistan with less than one percent of its population as taxpayers could never achieve sustainable economic growth and urged that government should focus on documentation of economy and broadening of tax base to improve tax revenue.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal said Chairman FBR Syed Shabbar Zaidi in a letter written to Prime Minister has stated that current poor and flawed taxation system posed threats to the economy as it was the main cause of accumulation of untaxed wealth in the country. He said Chairman FBR also confirmed that prevailing tax system was heavily relying on indirect taxes that put more burden on businesses and the common man. He urged that government should reform tax system with focus on direct taxes.