The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), on the request of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), has directed banks to keep all authorised branches open on April 29 and 30 and extend working hours to facilitate tax collection. In a statement issued Wednesday, the SBP said that all those bank branches that regularly remain open on Saturdays, including National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) branches and field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP-BSC), shall remain open this weekend to facilitate the payment of government duties and taxes. The branches would also observe extended working hours till 6pm to facilitate the collection of taxes through ADC’s Over-the-Counter (OTC) facility, it added. The SBP also directed the National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) to arrange special clearings at 1pm on April 29 and 6pm on April 30 to ensure same-day clearing and settlement of payment instruments deposited at NBP’s authorised branches for customs collection. The central bank instructed all banks to keep their clearing-related branches open accordingly till such time that would be necessary to facilitate the special clearings by NIFT this weekend. A day earlier, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar directed the FBR to accelerate its efforts to achieve the true tax potential of the country. The financial czar made the remarks while presiding over a meeting in Islamabad to review the tax body’s performance. Dar extended his full support to the FBR in the performance of its duties for revenue collection. During the meeting, FBR Chairman Asim Ahmad gave a detailed presentation on revenue targets and the performance of the FBR during the first nine months of the current fiscal year. It was stated that the FBR would make all-out efforts to meet its revenue target in the remaining months of the current financial year. On February 1, the FBR claimed that it had collected Rs3,965 billion in tax collection in seven months (July-Jan) period and will have to collect Rs3,505 billion more in the remaining five months (Feb-June) of the current fiscal to meet the Rs7,470 billion target.