ISLAMABAD - Falling short of key economic targets for the first quarter (June-August 2009) of the current financial year, Pakistan has sought waiver from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the ongoing review talks (November 2-11) at Dubai. According to well-placed sources, Pakistan has sought two waivers on performance criteria from the IMF after failing to contain fiscal deficit and also in expanding the tax net. The fiscal deficit during the first quarter of the current financial year amounted to Rs. 228 billion or 1.5 percent of GDP as against the target of Rs. 194 billion or 1.3 percent. Secondly, the Governments performance on the taxation side appeared to be greater cause of the IMF annoyance. The Government had agreed with the IMF to expand the tax net by plugging the leakages and bringing new sectors under the tax net, besides harmonising the revenue services. For plugging the leakages, the Government was supposed to conduct a random tax audit, while the General Sales Tax net was to be broadened to agriculture and more services. Last but not the least, the Government had to come up with legislation for creation of Inland Revenue Service. The Government has miserably failed to meet all these major targets of the performance criteria agreed with the IMF for $ 11.3 billion standby loans. The random tax audit was nowhere in sight, broadening of the tax net to agriculture and further services in addition to value added tax have already been postponed to the next year. Over the issue of creating Inland Revenue Service, the Federal Board of Revenue is faced with resistance from within. Therefore, the Government was left with no option but to seek waivers on all these missed targets, otherwise the release of the next tranche of over a billion dollars was not possible. Senior officials engaged in tough technical-level talks with IMF in Dubai have already forwarded the negative externalities of the ongoing war on terror as an excuse of missing the targets and justification for the waiver request. Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin who would reach Dubai for last two-day (November 10-11) policy level talks appeared to others as comfortable to get $1.2 billion from IMF. The sources were of the view that his confidence level was high, perhaps, for having support of USA in the Executive Board of Fund despite missing some key performance indicators in first quarter of the current fiscal year. Pakistan delegation negotiating with the IMF has, therefore, termed the delay in reimbursement of Coalition Support Fund amounting to Rs. 42 billion as major cause leading to pressure on the fiscal side. We have to promptly fund the ongoing war against militants, and reimbursement delays are bound to upset already under pressure fiscal room in the economy, a senior government official told TheNation.