ISLAMABAD                -              The federal government has appointed Nausheen Javaid Amjad, BS-22 officer of Inland Revenue, as acting chairman of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) after Shabbar Zaidi went on indefinite leave.

“Ms Nausheen Javaid Amjad, BS-22 officer of Inland Revenue Service presently posted as Member (Admin), Federal Board of Revenue (HQ), Islamabad is assigned the look after charge of the post of chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (HQ), Islamabad w.e.f 31.01.2020, during the leave period of Syed Muhammad Shabbar Zaidi, Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue,” the FBR stated in notification. The notification has not mentioned about the duration of Zaidi’s leave.

This is the second time in one month time when chairman FBR has gone on leave. Earlier, Shabbar Zaidi went on two weeks medical leave which ended on January 17. Zaidi had joined the office on January 20, but he was not actively looking after his work, the officials in FBR said.

Therefore, FBR’s tax collection efforts were badly hurt in January. FBR has faced revenue shortfall of Rs104 billion in the month of January, as it collected Rs321 billion in January as against the target of Rs425 billion.

Insiders claimed that Shabbar Zaidi was annoyed after Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh last month had expressed concerns over the performance of the FBR.

He had directed Chairman FBR to transfer all those officers who were not performing and against government reforms agenda. However, Zaidi had not transferred any officer since then. The FBR is continuously failing to achieve its monthly tax collection targets during ongoing fiscal year.

An official claimed that FBR senior officials were against the appointment of Zaidi as chairman FBR from the start. Prime Minister Imran Khan in May 2019 had appointed Zaidi as chairman FBR despite strong resistance from within the FBR.

Senior members of FBR would represent the department in upcoming talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF), which would start in next week.

Zaidi went on leave at the time when IMF would likely to ask Pakistan to bring mini budget to bridge the shortfall in tax collection that occurred in seven months of the current fiscal year.

Tax collection shortfall had swelled to Rs383 billion in seven months’ period. The FBR has collected Rs2408 billion as compared to the actual target of Rs2791 billion and Rs2552 billion revised target.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had already agreed with the government of Pakistan to downward revise the tax collection target to Rs5238 billion from original Rs5550 billion.