Customs wants revival of committees to curb corruption

September 23, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan Customs on Tuesday urged the Federal Board of Revenue to activate the defunct integrity committees to achieve the goal of a corruption-free tax management.Asif Mahmood Jah, chief...

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KARACHI: Pakistan Customs on Tuesday urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to activate the defunct integrity committees to achieve the goal of a corruption-free tax management.

Asif Mahmood Jah, chief collector of Customs (North) said the revenue body had established integrity units at the field levels.

However, these units are not functional, which is against the policy of the FBR and the government as well.

Asif Jah, who is also the in charge of one of the integrity committees, said fair and responsive organization -- ‘Integrity management and performance management system’ – was established at FBR Headquarters in 2014 for giving an easy access to the public for redressal of their grievances.

“The system was aimed at combating corruption within the organisation and providing checks to ensure the integrity of its employees,” he said.

“The accountability mechanism remained sluggish and slow to various human resource and other related issues.”

The FBR is following on the zero tolerance policy for corruption. “Recent suspension of many officials/officers, clearly establishes the resolve against corrupt elements,” he added.

The collector further said FBR also geared up its efforts to plug the loopholes and further strengthen its internal integrity management system and accountability mechanism within the department. It is keeping in view with the vision of the incumbent government for a corruption free Pakistan,

“In order to accomplish the object the FBR recently established Integrity management committees at the field formation level as well. All field formations of the FBR are expected to follow a policy of zero tolerance for corruption and take every possible step to curb this menace,” he added.

“The recently established regional integrity committees at the field level may be activated at the earliest as these can be very useful to achieve the goal of a corruption free FBR, as envisioned by the government and general public.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said bribe requests increased by 30 percent in Pakistan, while performance-based salaries of tax officials led to a significant increase in tax collection by as much as 50 percent.

IMF underscored need of combining higher wages with monitoring and sanctions to deal with this problem.

“Such reforms in Georgia, for example, reduced corruption significantly and tax revenues more than doubled, rising by 13 percentage points of GDP between 2003 and 2008,” it said in a study last year.

“Rwanda’s reforms to fight corruption since the mid-1990s bore fruit, and tax revenues increased by 6 percentage points of GDP.”



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