Wednesday Apr 27 2022
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Govt likely to bring back Asim Ahmed as FBR chairman

A policeman walks past the Federal Board of Revenue office building in Islamabad. — Reuters/File
A policeman walks past the Federal Board of Revenue office building in Islamabad. — Reuters/File 

  • PM Shehbaz calls federal cabinet meeting today to discuss appointment of FBR chairman.
  • Government is likely to replace current chairman with an IRS officer Asim Ahmed. 
  • Dr Ashfaque was appointed as FBR chairman in August 2021.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has called a federal cabinet meeting today (Wednesday) to discuss important matters including the appointment of the new Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman, sources told The News. 

The four-point agenda also includes briefings to the cabinet on the retirement directory, security situations, and energy-related matters. 

Earlier, a summary to replace FBR Chairman Dr Muhammad Ashfaque with Asim Ahmed — who is an Inland Revenue Officer (IRS) officer of Grade 21 — was moved to the federal cabinet. 

“Yes, a summary is being tabled before the federal cabinet which is scheduled to meet under the chair of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday (today),” top official sources confirmed to the publication on Tuesday.

The summary has been moved to appoint the FBR chairman for 120 days. Other names in the summary include Nadeem Rizvi and Tariq Huda. 

According to the summary, the government will appoint a new chairman for 120 days, however, it is not yet clear whether the new chairman will be given the charge of the secretary Revenue Division or not.

Asim Ahmed had served as the FBR chairman in 2021 for a few months but was replaced after a data-hacking incident occurred in the FBR. He is number three on the seniority list of IRS officers. 

Earlier, Tariq Huda, member Customs, was under consideration for the FBR's top slot, but his name got circulated in a scandal of vehicles, so his name was probably dropped from the list of names going to be considered for the prized post.

The outgoing FBR chairman was in the 17th position on the seniority list of IRS officers and during his tenure, he appointed junior officers at key slots. He had also appointed field officers to major urban centres, who possessed shady records. He annoyed subordinate officers mainly because of his single-track approach.

Dr Ashfaque was appointed as FBR chairman in August 2021 replacing Asim Ahmed.

Now there will be a challenge for the new FBR chairman for materialising an ambitious tax collection target of Rs6.1 trillion for the current fiscal year. The FBR’s collection remained good in the first nine months when the imports were rising but now with the compression of imports, the FBR will have to work hard for achieving its desired tax collection target envisaged for the current fiscal year.