An issue of allowances: Federal government taxing taxmen’s patience

Tax officials began two-hour-a-day strike to protest withdrawal of allowances, lack of healthcare.


Mudassir Raja August 10, 2011

RAWALPINDI:


Employees of the Regional Tax Office observed a two-hour strike on Tuesday to protest against the freezing of their monthly allowances by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).


Hundreds of income tax office employees suspended official activities between 11:00am and 1:00pm to protest the FBR’s stoppage of special allowances, equal to the monthly basic salary, from the month of July, local office bearers of Federal Revenue Employees Union (FREU) said.

They said their strike would continue till the federal government fulfils their demand for restoration of special allowances, upgradation of basic pay scale for the income tax inspector, early establishment of Federal Revenue Authority (FRA) and provision of medical care.

Talking to The Express Tribune, FREU Central Executive Committee Member Anwar Sherazi said that the FBR is bound to pay the special allowance every month to all employees that have passed the Internal Job Performance Test as part of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) reforms.

He added that all income tax inspectors had long been serving in grade 14, whereas inspectors in other departments are in grade 16; the income tax inspectors should be promoted, he added.

“Under the reforms introduced in the previous government, it was decided to establish FRA to deal with the problems facing income tax department employees at local level, but no steps have been taken in this direction so far,” Sherazi said.

“After the establishment of FRA, it will be easy for income tax officials to get their problems solved sooner than later and that without any impediments,” he added.

Among many other lesser demands, the most significant is provision of better medical coverage and facilities to income tax employees.

The office bearers said a majority of the income tax department staff was not entitled to any medical reimbursements or have access to any hospital where they can get free-of-charge treatment.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2011.

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