Govt fails to increase revenue collection, address power sector woes

  • ‘Revenue shortfall could reach Rs485bn this year, the highest under any govt’

ISLAMABAD: As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission chief to Pakistan is arriving in Islamabad today (Tuesday), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has been unable to implement reforms in two key areas – increase in revenue collection and redressal of power sector issues.

The government had announced two mini-budgets with an aim to address the challenges of current account deficit and to increase economic growth by proving a relief to the industry.

According to sources, the Federal Board of Revenue’s shortfall has increased to Rs233 billion during the first eight months of the current fiscal year and the tax department officials have projected that if the same situation persists, the revenue shortfall would reach Rs485 billion, the highest shortfall under any government.

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In addition, the government increased the gas prices by up to 143pc, electricity by up to Rs1.70. Reportedly, Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited and Sui Southern Gas Pipeline Limited has asked the government to increase the rates up to 145pc from the next fiscal year, which would surely increase the burden on the masses.

The incumbent government has also been facing pressure on the exchange rate flexibility and monetary policy tightening. The State Bank of Pakistan depreciated the rupee against the dollar by up to 18pc. Similarly, interest rate increased cumulatively by 275bps since December 2018.

The lending organization had also asked Pakistan to further strengthen social protection through the Benazir Income Support Programme in order to protect the more vulnerable segments of society.

The government has recently nominated the board members of Sarmaya-e-Pakistan from the private sector with an aim to reform 193 public sector enterprises, which were costing the national exchanger in billions.

A senior official told Pakistan Today that the lack of economic decisions by the successive governments has pushed Pakistan into a difficult situation and that’s why the government had to take loans up to $8.2 billion from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and China.


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