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ISLAMABAD: The Revenue Division has requested the federal government to declare operational emergency for immediate purchasing software and IT related equipment and hardware without tendering process to avert cyber attacks on Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) website in future.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Monday that the FBR immediately needs procurement of IT equipment and software for controlling such kinds of cyber attacks in future. The existing tender process is very time consuming and it may take another 5-6 months to go through the cumbersome process of procurement. Therefore, the former Chairman FBR Asim Ahmed had already declared the operational emergency, being Principal Accounting Officer of the Revenue Division. The Principal Accounting Officer, being authority or head of the government department, has the powers to declare such an emergency if needed.

The Revenue Division has now moved the summary to the cabinet to endorse the decision taken by the then FBR Chairman of declaring operational emergency. The FBR cannot wait for 5-6 months for purchase of necessary equipment. To promptly respond to such cyber attacks in future, all necessary equipment and software needs to be in place without any further delay.

Under the Rule 42(C) of the public procurement rules 2004, the procurement agency has been allowed to directly purchase equipment without tendering in case of emergency. Rule 42 deals with the alternative methods of procurements. The sub-rule C talks about the direct contracting in case of emergency. The PPRA rules fully allow the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to purchase the IT equipment (direct contracting) without a tendering process for the upgradation of the data centre or placing new software to avert attacks on its systems.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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