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Sunday April 21, 2024

Minister raises questions over FBR revamp legislation

Caretaker minister for energy could not participate in first meeting held Wednesday, so he attended meeting Thursday

By Mehtab Haider
January 26, 2024
Minister for Finance Shamshad Akhtar chairs a meeting in this image on January 22, 2024. — X/@Financegovpk
Minister for Finance Shamshad Akhtar chairs a meeting in this image on January 22, 2024. — X/@Financegovpk

ISLAMABAD: Without official minutes, the Inter-Ministerial Committee led by the Minister for Finance continued meeting on the second consecutive day Thursday to force the FBR to resend the summary for restructuring but the minister for law made it clear that the caretakers could not legislate drastic changes.

The caretaker minister for energy could not participate in the first meeting held on Wednesday, so he attended the meeting on Thursday. He expressed his views on the restructuring plan of FBR. Finally, it was decided that the minutes of inter-ministerial meetings would be shared first and then the members would take firm decisions on this complex issue of forwarding their recommendations to the federal cabinet.

Caretaker Minister for Finance Dr Shamshad Akhtar continued chairing the Inter-Ministerial meeting on Thursday despite non-issuance of official minutes of the last federal cabinet meeting held under Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.

Official sources confirmed that the federal minister for finance held a meeting with the prime minister on Thursday before chairing the inter-ministerial meeting. In the inter-ministerial meeting, she made all-out efforts to convince the committee members to force the FBR to resend the summary to the federal cabinet within the given stipulated timeframe of January 29, 2024. But, so far, no decision has been made.

However, the minister for law in the meeting opposed such drastic changes in the laws. Another minister asked whether the FBR employees would remain civil servants after the revamping.

On the other hand, the officers of FBR have already approached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and asked to stop the caretakers from plunging into restructuring and said this matter should be left to the upcoming government after the elections. They argued in the filed representation that it was not the mandate of the caretakers to take such a drastic decision that violated the Election Act.

The FBR officers hope the ECP would issue instructions to the government to this effect but so far the commission has not taken any decision.