Newly appointed Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Syed Muhammad Shabbar Zaidi paid Rs17.89 million in tax for the financial year of 2018, Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported.
The government-run news agency dismissed media reports alleging that the incoming chairman was a non-tax payer. It underscored that FBR data showed Zaidi was a regular taxpayer. He is also pegged amongst the highest tax-paying Chartered Accountant (CA) in the country.
Citing FBR records, APP said Zaidi paid Rs 15.36 million in 2017; Rs 11.2 million in 2016 and Rs 7.3 million in 2015.
The announcement about Zaidi’s appointment was made by Prime Minister Imran himself during an interaction with senior journalists in Islamabad. He gave preference to Zaidi over Ahmad Mujtaba Memon –a Grade 21 career bureaucrat of the Pakistan Customs. Memon was the nominee of the PM’s Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
About six months back, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had offered Zaidi to become the FBR chairman but at that time he had refused to accept the job.
Zaidi is known for his extensive contribution towards the development of taxation and fiscal laws of the country. He is a trustee of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation and a member of the board of governors of the Liaquat National Hospital in Karachi.
He has also remained the president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan and the chairman of the South Asian Federation of Accountants. He has also authored many books, including ‘Panama Leaks – A Blessing in Disguise’ and ‘A Journey for Clarity and Pakistan: Not a Failed State’.
The FBR has been facing serious administrative and policy problems. Its tax collection is growing at only 2% rate as against the nominal Gross Domestic Product rate of 12%. The FBR has faced over Rs345 billion shortfall in achieving the tax target during first 10 months of the fiscal year.