News Desk |
The newly instituted Federal Minister, Hammad Azhar has been forced to withdraw from the Ministry of Revenue on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Sources reveal that this decision has been ushered forward after strong protest lodged by Finance Adviser Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
After withdrawing the portfolio of Revenue Division, Hammad Azhar has been appointed as the Federal Minister for a considerably less significant portfolio, the Economic Affairs Division (EAD), which was once an important part of the Ministry of finance.
A notification released on 9th July, revealed that as part of cabinet division modifications, Hammad Azhar will not head the portfolio of Economic Affairs Division, effectively immediately.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, praised Hammad Azhar for his impressive performance during the budget sessions and his dedication and defense of the budget proposal on the floor of the National Assembly. Reports indicate that the Premier has announced to elevate Hammad Azhar as the Federal Minister.
Dr. Hafeez Shaikh Protested
Sources in the Ministry of Finance, circulating on media channels, revealed that Hafeez Shaikh had protested against Hammad Azhar’s appointment with Prime Minister Khan on Tuesday, demanding Azhar’s withdrawal from the Revenue Division portfolio. Sources revealed that Hafeez Shaikh even threatened to resign from his post.
The sources added that the Prime Minister accepted Hafeez Shaikh’s demand, since he could not change the 2nd finance minister within a span of three months.
On Monday, Azhar was appointed as the Federal Minister for Revenue, and within 24 hours, he was relieved of his portfolio. A notification released on 9th July, revealed that as part of cabinet division modifications, Hammad Azhar will not head the portfolio of Economic Affairs Division, effectively immediately.
Hammad Azhar was earlier appointed in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan, as the Minister of State for Revenue. He emerged as the second cabinet Minister, after Federal Minister for Communication Murad Saeed, who was appointed as a federal minister, owing to his impressive performance.
When this modification in the cabinet was ushered, Hammad Azhar was involved in negotiations with the trader’s community, who had threatened a protest strike in retaliation of the strict budgetary measures.
The Revenue Division is tasked with the responsibility of devising a taxation policy, tax administration and undertaking taxation agreements with other states.
A press release issued by the Cabinet Division revealed that Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh will no longer hold the portfolio of Economic Affairs Division, and he has been given the portfolio of Revenue Division.
Revenue Minister no More
Earlier in April, Prime Minister Khan had withdrawn the portfolio of the Finance Ministry for senior PTI leader Asad Umar, and given it to Dr. Hafeez Shaikh, appointed as the Special Adviser to PM on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs.
For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the portfolio of Revenue Division was taken from a Finance Minister and erected into a separate ministry. Sources revealed that Dr. Hafeez Shaikh disapproved of this decision, and regarded it as an attempt to undermine his authority. Given that the Revenue Division and Federal Board of Revenue were not under his influence, Dr. Hafeez Shaikh saw his powers significantly reduced.
The Revenue Division is tasked with the responsibility of devising a taxation policy, tax administration and undertaking taxation agreements with other states. As per the Rules of Business of 1973, it is also responsible for litigation and legal issues related to taxation, and the Administration of Customs, Excise, and Income Tax groups.
Analysts believe that the premier’s decision to remove the Revenue Division from the finance ministry and erect it into a separate ministry might have also influenced the delivery of the $6 billion loan approved by the IMF programme, which is conditional upon the ability of the Federal Bureau of Revenue to successfully meet its annual targets of tax generation.