It should not have come as a surprise that the position of the chairperson of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been changed again. Member Customs Javed Ghani now becomes the fourth person in 22 months to be appointed by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) as chairperson of the FBR, after his predecessor Nausheen Javed was removed due to alleged differences over policy changes and conflict over transfers and postings of the board officers.

Changes in board positions can reflect the government’s ability to admit their mistakes and aim for improvement, but consistent shuffling of instrumental positions risk the efficient functioning of the organisation. An institution as important as the FBR cannot endure such inconsistency without incurring losses. The FBR has suffered enormous losses, monetary and reputation-wise, in the past, due to years of corruption and inefficient management. It is good that the government is trying to seek to improve it through holding chairpersons to a higher standard but the FBR cannot be reformed overnight by an upstanding chairperson. It will take time to undo the incompetence and mismanagement that existed, which cannot be wished away merely by one individual.

Nausheen Javed was handed the impossible task of stopping the nose-diving tax revenues, restructuring of the top FBR hierarchy and improving the tainted image of the tax machinery—goals impossible to achieve in a few months. Chairpersons thus require more time to be tested out—Nausheen Javed was allowed to remain only a few months. The longest a chairperson under PTI lasted in the position was Shabbar Zaidi, hand-picked by the Prime Minister, whose tenure barely covered eleven months.

It is the government’s prerogative to shuffle and shift as it will—but it needs to do so with more consistency and commitment. Chopping and changing constantly is not going to deliver the results expected.