The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has internal rifts going on in its top tier leadership, as speculated by the medical leaves being pursued by the FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi. Shabbar Zaidi’s appointment was made on the decision of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan based on the premise that the FBR Chairman will be able to bring government-backed policy reforms in order to equip FBR will the tools necessary to perform their job along with bringing transparency in the government body so as to not take part in the financial fraud that occurs in Pakistan. However, tensions seem to have peaked due to which Shabbar Zaidi has now twice sought medical leave.

These reports that confirm internal dispute should be met with a strong response from the government because the functioning of FBR is of the utmost importance, especially with a party like Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) in government - whose prime focus is the fraud of money that occurs within the country. At the same time, there is also a need to equip the government bodies and functionaries with the tools required to resolve conflicts that erupt due to differences of opinion. If the chairman resorts to medical leaves, there is a great chance that the conflict will persist.

This is where personal qualities, especially with regards to leadership, come in when we talk about important roles in government bodies. People appointed at these posts must not wither under pressure and be willing to perform the tasks they are entrusted with in order to keep the system running and also effectively manage any dissent that occurs. Growth in organisations depends on how any manager or leader divides the work and caters to the ideas of those within his or her team. This is where the government should step in and investigate the matter. The issue allegedly plaguing the bureau chief at the moment is that of refunds payment through FASTER software. While the official statement of FBR claims no rift within the board, the rumours are certainly problematic.

The government is already facing delays in several functions that it needs to perform. With financial reforms, a part of the government’s agenda, any lag on part of FBR will create problems not just on the domestic front but due to the keen eye of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on the international front as well. Adviser to the PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is also displeased with FBR’s performance in the last six months after his visit to the FBR headquarters. If an actual medical leave is being sought by the FBR Chief, then it must be ensured that there are no delays in work.