Corruption in FBR to be a major challenge for PTI government

Pakistan Today

ISLAMABAD: Ending corruption within the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will be a gigantic task for Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) government as the tax department loses billions of rupee revenue due to corruption on a yearly basis.
Tax officials told Pakistan Today that there is a dire need for restructuring of the tax department as corruption prevails at all levels within the organisation.
The newly elected government is likely to immediately transfers all the incumbent members, Director General (DGs) as they have been found involved in corrupt practices and one officer is facing an inquiry in National Accountability Bureau (NAB), officials added.
Hundreds of tax officials facing inquiries on serious charges of corruption and inefficiency are serving at key positions within the FBR but the previous government under the supervision of Senator Haroon Akhtar in spite of initiating action protecting these officials.
In addition, the quantum of smuggling is increasing day by day as officials told that the volume of smuggling has reached $60 billion, equivalent to Pakistan’s imports. However, if the PTI government manages to curtail smuggling then tax department can get a huge revenue inflow, officials added.
Furthermore, the government should stop the currency outflow from airports as officials told that most of the people who have illegal money purchase dollars. This will not only strengthen the rupee against the dollar but Pakistan will be able to comply with FATF terror financing obligations.
The previous team of FBR had introduced a green channel facility which is also a disaster for the economy as Pakistan is losing Rs1 trillion on a yearly basis, the officials have a point of view that green channel facility is encouraging illegal smuggling and the new government should pay heed on this matter.
It is pertinent to mention here that Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) had also taken suo moto action on a complaint pertaining to corruption and revenue evasion through green channel and ordered an inquiry into the matter.
It was revealed in Directorate General Customs Intelligence and Investigation report that national exchequer has witnessed a colossal loss through misuse of Green Channel facility.
Former bureaucrat Rehmat Ullah Wazir while talking to Pakistan Today said that the new government should be centralized FBR’s Information Technology (IT) system, as it will not only control the wrongdoings of officials but the top management will keep on eye on the employees of FBR.
World Bank (WB) had shown interest to start IT-based system with FBR but former FBR chairman and incumbent member do not want an IT-based system, Rehmat Ullah Wazir said that this programme can also mitigate the corruption in FBR.
One another official of FBR said that Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz government had given the top slots to alleged ‘corrupt’ officials in last five years to protect its corruption, on the other hand, a number of honest and competent officers have been sidelined just because they have exposed the wrongdoings and corruption of high ups of tax department.
“If the PTI succeeds to post honest and competent person on right post then they can collect billions of rupee more tax as Imran Khan has promised to the nation.
It is pertinent to mention here that PTI Chairman Imran Khan in his manifesto claim that his government will collect Rs8000 billion revenue from this nation. FBR is able to collect Rs3751 billion in the fiscal year 2017-18 despite the fact it had withdrawn many of exemptions given to the affluent class.

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