ISLAMABAD - The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been running without its head for last two days as government neither appointed new chairman nor given acting charge to any official after the retirement of Salman Siddique that caused interruption in official work in country’s revenue collection body, it has learnt on Tuesday.

“Official work has been halted in the department due to the absence of chairman Federal Board of Revenue from last two working days”, said an official of the FBR while talking to The Nation. However on Tuesday night, Mahmood Alam, a senior board member, was given charge of acting chairman.

Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Salman Siddique, was retired on Friday after reaching the age of superannuation. Since then the government neither give the charge of acting chairman to any official from last two days i.e. Monday and Tuesday nor appoint a new chairman.

It might be mentioned here that FBR had issued notification of acting chairman whenever its chairman goes to other country on official duty. “Whenever FBR chairman goes on leave or for that matter abroad on official tour, the FBR notified Mahmood Alam (BS-22 officer and most senior member of the Strategic Planning and Statistics Wing) as acting chairman”, said another official and added that government has yet to issue notification in this regard.

Sources said that notification is required regarding giving charge of acting chairman of the tax department. Apart from revenue collection, the absence of chairman FBR might affect several initiates taken by FBR recently that included documentation of the economy and broadening of tax base.

The FBR has performed well in the first six months July-December of 2011-12, as the FBR had collected Rs 840 billion in the said period, which is 27 per cent higher than the collection of the same period last year. Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is likely to meet Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in next few days for consultation on the name of chairman FBR.

Sources told that there are several bureaucrats, including Secretary Commerce Zafar Mahmood, member Customs FBR Mumtaz Haider Rizvi, former member FBR Ch Azam and Secretary Aziz Bilour and Mahmood Alam are in the race of chairmanship of FBR.