Pakistan to target $37.29bln tax revenue for FY2021/2022

Pakistan has been under pressure by IMF to raise revenue through taxes

  
Men wear protective masks as they walk along a road, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Karachi, Pakistan March 30, 2021.

Men wear protective masks as they walk along a road, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Karachi, Pakistan March 30, 2021.

Reuters/Akhtar Soomro

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan will target tax revenue collection of 5.8 trillion rupees ($37.29 billion) for the 2021/2022 financial year, up 1.1 trillion from the current year's estimated collection, finance minister Shaukat Tarin said on Thursday.

Pakistan is to present an annual budget on Friday.

Revenue collections have been doing well, the minister said, presenting an economic survey of Pakistan for FY2020/2021 in Islamabad.

"We have reached at 4.3 trillion in 11 months," he said, adding that it will likely end up at 4.7 trillion, 196 billion rupees below the 4.96 trillion rupees target.

And, he added, "that's why we have set a target of 5.8 trillion for next year."

Pakistan has been under pressure by International Monetary Fund (IMF) to raise revenue through taxes and a power tariff to meet the benchmarks set under a $6 billion loan secured in 2019.

Tarin said the upcoming tax revenue collection target has been set to meet the IMF demand, adding that raising the power tariff as recommended by the fund wasn't possible.

"We can't burden our poor," he said, adding that Pakistan was already in talks with the IMF to seek some relaxations.

"The revenue (target) they (IMF) wanted, we gave it to them; the 5.8, 5.9 trillion they wanted, we gave it to them," he said.

"The IMF team and the Pakistani authorities remain engaged conducting technical 'virtual' meetings," the fund's resident representative Teresa Daban Sanchez told Reuters.

GDP growth surpassed the target due to the "prudent policies" the country adopted to handle the economic impact of the global pandemic and incentives given to industry and business, Tarin said.

Pakistan estimated 3.94% GDP growth for FY2020/2021, up from the revised 3% target from the original 2.1% set in the last budget. 

Independent financial analysts have questioned that number in view of the IMF and World Bank's projection of 1.5% and 1.3% respectively.

($1 = 155.5300 Pakistani rupees)

(Reporting by Asif Shahzad; Additional Reporting by Gibran Peshimam in Islamabad; Editing by Steve Orlofsky) ((asif.shahzad@thomsonreuters.com; +923018463683;))

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