ISLAMABAD - The federal government is contemplating to increase taxes on mobile phones, laptops, mineral water, beverages, luxury cars and steel products in the budget for the financial year 2016-2017.

“The government will not impose any tax on food items in the budget so that the common man is spared additional burden,” an official of the Ministry of Finance told The Nation on Monday.

He further said the government was currently considering several taxation proposals for the next fiscal year.

He said the government was once again mulling enhancing General Sales Tax (GST) on mineral water to 17 percent.

The government, in the last budget, had dropped the idea of taxing mineral water. Sources informed the government might also increase taxes on beverages in the next budget.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan said the other day the government was also thinking to insert in the budget a proposal for fixing duties and taxes on the import of laptops so that smuggling of computer equipments could be checked.

“It is a viable method for generating revenue and controlling smuggling through policy measures and tax rationalisation,” he added. The government is also likely to increase GST on the import of mobile phones in the budget.

The government had already doubled the sales tax on the import of low price mobile phones from Rs150 to Rs300 in the last budget; on medium price mobile phones from Rs250 to Rs500 and on smartphones to Rs1000 from the existing Rs500.

Sources further informed this scribe that the government was also mulling to increase the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on the import of vehicles, above 2700cc, in a bid to generate additional revenue.

The government has revised the revenue collection target to Rs3.62 trillion for the next financial year from Rs3.7 trillion, approved by the federal cabinet in April this year. The FBR has to generate additional revenue of Rs516 billion in 2016-17 to meet the ambitious revenue collection of Rs 3620 billion during the next fiscal year.

According to the sources, the government has decided to withdraw tax exemptions, amounting to Rs128 billion, in the budget for the next financial year.