Former FBR chief Shabbar Zaidi talks about why he left revenue body

Zaidi says that Arbab Shehzad and Dr Ishrat Hussain opposed the conversion of FBR into Pakistan Revenue Service

Amin Hafeez

Former Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi on Friday spoke about his time with the revenue body and what contributed to his departure.

Zaidi's revelations came during an appearance on Jang Media Group programme "Breakfast with Jang" hosted by Sikandar Lodhi.

While answering a question by a guest participant, the former FBR chief said that a reason for his resignation from the institution was that senior bureaucrats Arbab Shehzad and Dr Ishrat Hussain had opposed the conversion of the Board of Revenue into Pakistan Revenue Service.

He stressed that FBR would have to be transformed into Pakistan Revenue Service, adding that "a low paid bureaucracy could never fix Pakistan".

The former chairman also said that unregistered companies in the cigarette industry would have to be brought into the tax network.

He regretted that as chairman he could not succeed in abolishing taxes on manufacturers and imposing taxes on retailers.

Law experts Khazeema Bukhari and Noorullah also addressed the gathering.

Zaidi cites health reasons as he leaves FBR

Zaidi was Chairman FBR from May 10, 2019 to January 6, 2020.

His stepping away from the role came after much speculation about the circumstances surrounding the decision.

In January 2020, Zaidi had gone on indefinite leave citing health issues. The following month he rejected speculation about his resignation, saying he had been unable to perform his duties due to ill health.

The federal cabinet had subsequently approved the appointment of Nausheen Javed Amjad as the FBR chief after circulating a summary in this regard. Zaidi was simultaneously removed from his position as honorary chief of the revenue body.

Amjad's appointment, however, was short lived.

In July Amjad was removed as chairperson, with Muhammad Javed Ghani appointed in her stead.