The top brass of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has informed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government that politically motivated appointments to critical posts during the previous regime had led to a dismal performance by the FBR in revenue collection in 2012-13.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the government was also told that the FBR workforce lacked motivation due to reshuffles in the top management and that frequent changes of field formations badly affected the smooth functioning of the agency.
According to sources, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet was informed in its meeting on January 8 that appointments on critical assignments were made on considerations other than merit.
“There is a lack of effective and coherent monitoring of revenue collection activities by field formations due to a crisis of leadership,” FBR authorities had said, adding that the top management depended on the tax amnesty scheme which never took off but had distracted the revenue focus from hard work to windfall and this resulted in the suspension of then FBR chairman Ali Arshad Hakeem in April 2013.
The economic decision-making body was also told that the new chairman was to superannuate in May 2013. Though his contract was extended up to June 30,2013, it could not prove to be effective.
It was stated that during financial year 2012-13, the FBR collected Rs1,939 billion against a collection of Rs1,883 billion during the financial year 2011-12 reflecting a growth of 3 per cent. However, the original target of Rs2,381 billion and a revised target of Rs2,007 billion could not be achieved.
The ECC was informed that three major factors including external, internal and leadership were responsible for the missed targets.
The meeting was informed that the targets set for the growth of normal and real GDP dutiable imports and Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) were too ambitious and the actual macroeconomic indicators remained below the expected outcome during 2012-13.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2014.
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