News Anaylsis |
Clouds of uncertainty went away as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant Naeem ul Haque confirmed on Thursday that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman, Shabbar Zaidi, was not to be replaced. Earlier, there were some reports suggesting Zaidi’s replacement with a new chairman FBR. Haque dismissed these reports in a tweet and stated that the FBR chairman would remain in his position.
Shabbar Zaidi not being changed. He will remain in his position.
— Naeem ul Haque (@naeemul_haque) July 18, 2019
Reports were rife in the media that FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi was being removed while there were also rumors pertaining to changes in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s economic team.
Meetings between the chairman and delegations from the trader community broke down into pandemonium on at least two occasions, videos of which circulated on social media.
According to accounts, there wasn’t harmony between Shabbar Zaidi and his team and traders were not satisfied with the steps being taken by the FBR chairman. It was widely speculated that the traders did not feel comfortable with Shabbar Zaidi and wanted the PM to immediately replace him.
One of the demands of Traders is to remove Shabbar Zaidi from the post of Chairman FBR. Will @ImranKhanPTI take a stand for Shabbar?
— Adeel Raja (@adeelraja) July 17, 2019
A few days ago there have been several changes within the FBR for instance, officers have been transferred and new assignments have been given to them. Zaidi mentioned; “we are making long-term plans and will not transfer anyone on ad-hoc basis.”
However, he stated that all tax officers will have to work as per their scheduled timings until things were finalized. But it is important to note that the business community has been agitating against the revenue measures announced in the budget. Meetings between the chairman and delegations from the trader community broke down into pandemonium on at least two occasions, videos of which circulated on social media. One of these events was in Karachi, and the other in Sialkot.
They are also reported to have approached top people in the power corridor over the appointment of Zaidi as chairman FBR. Recently, there have been news regarding traders starting off protests and rallies because of new taxation policies by the newly appointed FBR Chairman. However, the perception that the prime minister shall change the chairman to appease the traders is no longer valid.
PM Khan has now taken a bold step and decided to let the chairman work independently. The FBR officials believe that some tough measures shall have to be taken since many organizations and traders in the country are not used to paying tax. “The policy to pay tax is not being welcomed by those who had been evading it,” commented an official.