Integrated national financing frameworks (INFFs) are a planning and delivery framework to help countries finance sustainable development and the SDGs. ESCAP is executing a project on “Towards integrated national financing frameworks,” which addresses capacity gaps identified by target countries in one or more of the four INFF building blocks: (i) assessment and diagnostics, (ii) financing strategy, (iii) monitoring and review, and/or (iv) governance arrangements. The project puts a substantive focus on mobilizing financing for productive investments in recovery and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including through improving tax compliance.
A rapid assessment of the country’s financial needs for the SDGs conducted by ESCAP found that enhancing tax revenues should be an important priority, as the country has a low tax-to-GDP ratio, and this hinders the country's ability to invest in critical infrastructure and public services. Therefore, improving tax compliance should be an important element of Pakistan financial strategy, which is the second pillar of INFFs.
The present conference is in the context of an ESCAP technical assistance project to the Federal Board of Revenue, which focuses on four areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) applied to tax administration: e-Invoicing, e-withholding tax systems, point of sale (POS) systems, and track and trace for goods in the manufacturing industry. The conference focuses on the first three areas.
The use of these ICT tools can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of tax administration in Pakistan by enabling better monitoring and control of tax collection processes. Ultimately, this will result in increased revenue for the government which can be used to finance critical infrastructure and public services, promoting sustainable economic growth and development in Pakistan.
The conference will address challenges in Pakistan's tax compliance systems by leveraging ICT through the following objectives:
- Facilitate knowledge exchange on best practices and lessons learned in implementing ICT systems such as e-invoicing, e-withholding tax systems, and POS systems for tax compliance.
- Evaluate potential strategies that FBR could consider for an implementation of such ICT systems that are both effective and adapted to the national needs.
- Identify capacity needs and support the development of training programs for FBR staff and other stakeholders to effectively implement and maintain ICT systems.
- Explore potential public-private partnerships and collaboration opportunities to support the adoption and integration of ICT solutions for tax compliance in Pakistan.
- Assess existing infrastructure and systems to identify areas for improvement and recommend strategies for modernization and digital transformation.
- Facilitate dialogue and engagement among relevant stakeholders, fostering a collaborative approach to addressing tax compliance challenges through ICT.