Three candidates are in race for the office of Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), which was vacated after PTI government sacked Chairman FBR Jahanzaib Khan and Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Tariq Bajwa just ahead of federal budget.
It is more interesting to note that an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team is in the country to finalize a bailout package, which Pakistan desperately needs.Fazal Yazdani from Pakistan Customs Service, Khawaja Adnan from Inland Revenue Service and a Chartered Accountant Shabbar Zaidi are being considered for the top office of the revenue body.
Sources said Shabbar Zaidi’s name had come up but it was no longer being considered. The incumbent Chairman FBR would be facing tough challenges of enhanced revenue collection and broadening of tax base, which becomes even difficult in the absence of consistent policies and presence of clueless government.
Fazal Yazdani and Khawaja Adnan are carrier bureaucrats and they are well aware of the strengths, weaknesses, challenges and operations of the revenue collection system.
An official said that replacing the chief would not serve any purpose unless basic flaws and loopholes are removed. The Inland Revenue Service (IRS) is dependent on indirect taxes and there has been no considerable growth in direct tax collection over the years. The IRS has not been able to effectively control sales tax evasion, bogus refunds and misuse of concessionary SROs.
Customs on the other hand is witnessing significant decline in revenue collection as regulatory duty, and certain non-tariff barriers have reduced the legal imports. Smuggling is thriving though, the mafia is making deals on ‘done basis’, which is a guarantee that the goods would be delivered at doorsteps. Most of the goods that were earlier imported through legal course and payment of duty/taxes are now being smuggled through misuse of Green Channel facility, replacement of transshipment cargo and through the border of Iran and Afghanistan.
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