ISLAMABAD - Reforms involving billions of rupees in Federal Board of Revenue, mainly financed with loan money, are hitting snags, as the authorities could only spend less than one-fifth of the total cost of the umbrella project, delaying the process for many more years. The FBR, national tax collecting body, could only spend Rs 1.7 billion or about 18 per cent of the total cost of the project, Tax Administration Reform Project, during the last three years. The project has become a classic example of bureaucratic failure. The World Bank has already termed it as "problematic project".  The Board chief spokesman, Khawar Khurshid Butt admits, "The project cannot be completed till the due date of December 2009" adding, "former Member Information Management System was responsible for the slow pace".    The delay in the completion of the project, started in 2005, was creating immense problems for not only the taxpayers but also for the govt. Instead of overcoming its weaknesses by bringing in reforms, the Board is heavily relying on indirect taxes, a traditional way of collecting money, to generate the targeted revenue. In July, the first month of new financial year, the FBR collected Rs 66 billion, out of which Rs 48.7 billion were collected under indirect taxes, which was 74 per cent of the total collection. According to the World Bank, which provided about 75 per cent funding of the project, the project's objective is to support the development of a more efficient and effective revenue administration system in Pakistan. The project's other goals are to raise tax revenue through improved compliance with tax laws and broadening of the tax base, which is currently lowest in South Asia region. It also targets decreased number of taxes and improve collection through transparent and high quality tax services and to strengthen audit and enforcement procedures. Due to delay in completion, the tax-to-GDP ratio is still hovering around 10-11 per cent for the last many years. The region's tax collection ratio as of total size of the economy is above 16 per cent. This is costing about Rs 500 billion per annum to the government, which otherwise could be used to finance the development projects in the country.   "The delay in the project is leading to more tax evasions, as the authorities don't have data of big business firms, which are taking full advantage of the situation by cheating the FBR", says a recently retired member FBR.    One of the top officials of the Finance Ministry told TheNation, "Poor tax-to-GDP ratio was increasing the govt financial problems". The FBR spokesman attributed slow pace of the project to the previous FBR member of Information Management System, Aamir Z. Chaudhry, who according to the spokesman could not produce the desired results. At the same time, he said, bringing reforms in any tax system was a difficult process. The total cost of the project was estimated at Rs 9.5 billion, out of which Rs 7.2 billion were obtained from the WB and Britain's Department for International Development. The government's commitment with the project could be gauged with this year's allocation for the programme. Out of the remaining 82 per cent funding requirements the government only fixed Rs 1.85 billion, which is less than one-fourth of the total needs. The FBR spokesman said the releases were not matching the needs. Delay is costing the national exchequer as well. Out of the total amount, US $ 24.4 million is carrying high interest rate. A credit of US $ 78.5 million of the WB is having about one per cent interest rate as services fee.