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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has launched a broad-based reform programme within the tax administration by establishing a "Reform Bureau" at the FBR House and a new "Reforms and Modernization Wing" to ensure optimal revenue collection, high quality public service delivery, integration with other federal and provincial organizations and facilitation of economic environment to encourage domestic and foreign investment in Pakistan.

The FBR's new reform programme would also ensure a single line of reporting to the Prime Minister, Imran Khan, for various reforms initiatives of the FBR, and upgrade and modernize tax machinery without further delay.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Friday that the FBR chairperson and his team of members have approved new reform programme, and establishment of a "Reforms and Modernization Wing" and a "Reform Bureau" at the level of the FBR.

The approval has been given on the last working day before Eid-ul-Azha. Ambreen Iftikhar has been given a new assignment as Member Reforms and Modernization. In line with the commitment of the government to urgently reform the FBR, the Reform Bureau and the Reforms and Modernization Wing would focus on four key areas: policy measures, structural reforms, automation and modernization and revamping of human resource management.

According to well-informed sources, the Reform Bureau has been established at the FBR on the recommendation of the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms, Dr Ishrat Hussain, with the major objective to consolidate efforts and ensure implementation of reforms to transform FBR into a modern, progressive, ICT-based and result-oriented organization.

A number of reforms-related initiatives, including the World Bank programme (Pakistan Raises Revenue Project), the IT-related reforms, the structural reforms and human resource-related reforms, are being undertaken in various FBR wings.

However, there was no formal communication and coordination among these wings. Therefore, multiple lines of reporting and isolated working of these teams were adversely affecting the overall pace of reforms in the FBR. In this connection, the Reforms and Modernization Wing would be established at the FBR to consolidate all reform-related efforts including policy measures, structural reforms, automation, modernization, and human resource management under one roof to ensure proper coordination and consolidation, besides proper monitoring and evaluation of the entire reform process.

This would also be instrumental in effective implementation of time-bound goals and objectives. Sources further stated that the government was very serious and wanted to introduce meaningful reforms in the FBR without any further delay with the aim to upgrade and modernize this organization in line with the best international standards and practices.

Under the reform plan, the FBR chairperson and his team have agreed that reforms must be conceived in a manner which would lead to optimal revenue collection, besides ensuring high quality of public service delivery and facilitation of economic environment in the country.

The new organizational structure of the Reforms and Modernization Wing revealed that three chiefs, i.e. Chief-I Customs, Chief-II Inland Revenue and Chief-III Coordination and Communication, would operate under the Member Reforms and Modernization.

The Reforms and Modernization Wing would have the mandate to identify and institute clear lines of responsibility for various wings of the FBR in consultation with the FBR members.

The new wing would also ensure monitoring and evaluation of reform process to ensure effective implementation of time-bound goals and objectives, and consolidation of efforts to transform FBR into a modern, progressive, ICT-based and resulted-oriented organization. The FBR members were unanimous that the success of the reforms could only be ensured if the same would result in optimizing revenue generation for the State, the sources added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020