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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has reduced the working staff strength by 50 percent for Grade 1-15 and its field formations to control the spread of Covid-19 from November 13, 2020. A circular issued by the FBR Friday revealed that the FBR headquarters and all its field formations are advised to reduce the staff strength (BS-1 to 15) by 50 percent on fortnightly rotation basis from November 13.

According to the circular, in order to contain exponential increase in Covid-19 cases in the FBR (HQ) and its field formations, and in line with the NCOC's decisions taken in its meeting dated 06.11.2020 conveyed to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination for precautionary measures against the spread of coronavirus, the competent authority has decided to adopt the following measures by the FBR (HQ) and all its field formations: First, the FBR (HQ) and all its field formations are advised to reduce the staff strength (BS-I to 15) by 50 percent on fortnightly rotation basis, wef, 13th November. 2020 as per the following plan:

(a) Anyone suffering from flu and fever may remain off but to be available in respective stations and on cell phones.

b) All members/chiefs FBR (HQ) and heads of all field formations are advised to decide about rotation of their offices. Prepare the list (duty/oft) of officials (BS-I to 15) for the first cycle starting from 13th November, 2020 up to 27th November 2020, and provide the same to the Admin Wing FBR (HQ) by tomorrow before 5pm.

(ii) Any employee who has symptoms of Covid-19 i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath should get himself/herself tested immediately and report to the admin wing of the FBR (HQ) or headquarters of their respective field formations to be allowed to stay isolated till he/she is tested negative.

(iii) The employees are also directed to wear face masks during office hours, avoid hand-shakes, hugs, and maintain social distance as per standard SOPs.

(iv) Employees above 50 years of age may be allowed to work from their homes except those employees whose presence is unavoidable for smooth functioning of the official business.

Heads of all field formations are advised to take decision in this regard, accordingly.

Field Offices are further advised to allow female staff (mothers of children) to work from their homes.

(v) It is advised that all those employees who are suffering from flu, fever or carrying medical history of frequent chest infections, asthma, cardiac-related problems or any other major disease shall be allowed to work from their homes.

Moreover, reception staff will monitor everyone who enters office premises with the help of infrared thermal thermometers.

(vi) It is further advised that lifts/elevators installed in the FBR HQ and its field offices shall be used as less as possible, and lift operators shall be provided with antiseptic sprays and swabs to clean the buttons and knobs, regularly.

(vii) In order to avoid physical contact with door handles/knobs, it is advised that all office doors be kept open and room windows be kept open also to ensure ventilation.

(viii) The FBR (HQ) and its field formations shall take all necessary measures essential to ensure social distancing, immediately.

(ix) Every possible effort shall be made by the FBR (HQ) and its field formations to ensure collection of tax revenues and smooth clearances of goods and passengers, the FBR added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020