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July 11, 2019

Lobbying going on in FBR to secure positions

Top Story

July 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Some hectic lobbying is going on to secure key positions within the fold of FBR as one official who was sidelined in last fiscal year now claimed before top guns of the government that he could make wonders on revenue collection on the basis of wrong premises.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has cancelled his scheduled meeting with FBR members on Thursday (today). Now the tax machinery is totally in grip of uncertainty where everyone seems clueless whether everyone would continue to perform or shown the door anytime.

The revenue collection target of Rs 5550 billion for the current fiscal year compared to provisional collection of Rs3832 billion in last fiscal year will require a growth of 43 percent that had never happened in any single year in history of Pakistan. Instead of continuous lingering confusion, the government must make up its mind and bring key changes in the FBR at the top as early as possible.

One top officer of grade 21 who was sidelined during the tenure of former Chairman FBR Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan now made presentation before the top guns of the incumbent regime and claimed that the FBR was facing revenue shortfall of Rs20 billion during his tenure that had now gone up to Rs50 billion per month in last fiscal year after his removal from the Board.

However, the official data of the FBR did not support tall claims of the official as the revenue collection depressed in last financial year mainly because of import compression and policy induced actions and no one could make any difference in it.

The provisional data available with The News disclosed that the FBR’s collection stood at Rs3755.385 billion in July-June period of 2018-19 against Rs3754.851 billion in previous fiscal year 2017-18.

In the fiscal year 2018-19, the amount collected through two amnesty schemes (one during PML-N regime and second in PTI tenure) fetched Rs76.9 billion including

Rs34 billion made part of collection with the help of amnesty of PML-N led regime in July 2018 as this amount showed in collection of fiscal year 2018-19. The latest amnesty related collection of Rs42.9 billion has been made part of June 2019 collection so total collection in shape of two amnesty schemes stood at Rs76.9 billion. However, the collection of amnesty in previous fiscal year 2017-18 stood at Rs90 billion which was incorporated as part of collection materialized in June 2018.

The amount of collection materialised in June 2018 stood at Rs90 billion against Rs76.9 billion in June 2019 so it was Rs13 billion more in fiscal year 2018.

Secondly the import compression started paying its heavy toll after Oct/Nov 2018 so the revenue collection dropped significantly. Thirdly the POL related taxes were kept at lowest. Fourthly the Supreme Court had suspended withholding tax on mobile cards and last but not the least the economic slowdown resulted into decline in revenue collection.

The government also plans to trim the FBR strength of members by reducing it from over 14 to just 5 to 6 but there is need to analyze that instead of allowing workforce to get salary while keeping them OSD so maximum utilization must be ensured in any scheme of reform plan.

For instance FBR’s Member Accounting reconciled many paras of PAC even in the absence of the Chairman FBR on Wednesday the concerned member reconciled many issues before Department Accounting Committee.

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