Rs4.9tr revenue target achievable if Covid-19 spread declines: Hafeez Shaikh

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Tuesday that the revenue collection target of Rs4,900 billion, set for the fiscal year 2020-21 can be achieved if the spread of Covid-19 is controlled.

Addressing a webinar, organised by Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), titled “Pakistan Post-Covid-19 Budget and Economic Measures” in Islamabad, the adviser said that if the coronavirus begins to recede and the economy picks up, the government can achieve the revenue target.

The adviser said that the country’s economy was progressing well before the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic as indicated by economic indicators. However, he added that Covid-19 has inflicted a loss of Rs3,000 billion on the economy and nothing could be predicted about its eventual impact. 

He further added that the rationale behind the budget was not to impose new taxes at a time of economic contraction but to save the business community from further burden and to facilitate common citizens who are bearing the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Hafeez Shaikh expressed the hope to achieve the Gross Domestic Product  (GDP) growth target of over 2 per cent set for the upcoming fiscal year 2020-21, adding that if corona affected countries recover from the pandemic, exports will pick up which would have a positive impact on the economy of Pakistan. 

The advisor added that around 1,600 tariff lines were brought down in the Budget 2020-21 to facilitate the business and import sector whereas there has been reduction in federal excise duty on many products to facilitate businesses.

He said that the hard decisions taken by the government had brought fruitful results and the current account deficit has been reduced from a historic high of $20 billion to just $3 billion. 

Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairperson Nausheen Javaid said that the 17 per cent 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 per cent due to the impact of Covid-19, hence it would have a negative impact on overall growth percentage of 17 per cent achieved before the spread of pandemic.

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