World Bank Vice President Applauds FBR Reforms

World Bank Vice President Applauds FBR Reforms

Islamabad, May 8, 2024 – In a significant meeting held at the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) headquarters on Wednesday, Martin Raiser, Vice President of the World Bank, met with Amjed Zubair Tiwana, the Chairman of FBR and Secretary of the Revenue Division.

This visit underscores the strengthening ties and ongoing cooperation between the World Bank and Pakistan’s primary revenue collection agency.

Accompanying Martin Raiser were several key World Bank officials, including Najy Benhassine, Country Director; Gailius J Draugelis, Operations Manager; Tobias Akhtar Haque, Lead Country Economist; and Ms. Irum Touqeer, Public Sector Specialist. From the FBR, Ardsher Saleem Tariq, Member (Reforms and Modernization) and Karamatullah Khan Chaudhry, Member (Digital Initiative), were also prominent attendees.

The agenda for the meeting was robust, featuring a detailed presentation on the FBR’s reform agenda with a special focus on the Pakistan Raises Revenue Project. This project includes critical initiatives such as the Harmonization of Sales Tax, the implementation of a Track & Trace System, and the enhancement of FBR’s ICT capacities.

Martin Raiser praised the FBR’s initiatives, particularly noting the shift towards a digitalized tax administration. He emphasized the potential for these initiatives to yield significant benefits, especially if coupled with the gradual elimination of tax exemptions. He suggested that these reforms should be supported by a combination of social assistance measures and the introduction of a sales tax system based on consumption patterns.

Responding to the praise, Chairman FBR Amjed Zubair Tiwana highlighted the collaborative efforts with various stakeholders in pushing forward the digitalization initiative. He emphasized that digitalization is crucial not only for enhancing revenue but also for enabling the FBR to make more informed and sustainable decisions aimed at increasing revenue streams.

Echoing Tiwana’s sentiments, Raiser expressed optimism about the ongoing digitalization efforts, indicating that the World Bank views this as a pivotal opportunity to strengthen its cooperation with the FBR, supporting Pakistan’s broader economic reform and development goals.

The meeting concluded on a note of mutual commitment to continuing support and collaboration, with both parties acknowledging the significant role that robust, transparent, and efficient tax systems play in national development. The visit by the World Bank team to FBR HQ is expected to further bolster the reformative steps being taken by the FBR, potentially leading to more streamlined tax processes and enhanced revenue collection capabilities in Pakistan.