The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) headquarters building here was closed on Wednesday after a coronavirus positive case was detected among one of its officials. However, an official told BR that the building has not been sealed. Sanitization work will continue Thursday but the employees have been asked to avoid coming to work till Monday.
A message was circulated among all FBR members and other employees Wednesday afternoon directing them to evacuate the building to avoid infection. The FBR chairperson oversaw the evacuation of the building and was the last to leave. According to details, the Secretary Projects Anwer Zaib Khan working on the seventh floor of the building has been confirmed positive.
As soon as the situation came under the notice of the FBR's administration, the chairperson FBR immediately ordered sanitization of the entire building.
Disinfection spraying and other sanitization measures continued after iftar on Wednesday at the FBR House.
The FBR has not issued any order or circular of the sealing of the building or closure of the FBR, but majority of the staff would not come to the FBR House on Thursday (April 30th).
The most necessary staff may come to office on Thursday.
The budget preparation exercise has already started at the FBR but this new development is likely to suspend the process till normalization of the situation in the next few days.
Business Recorder talked to a number of FBR officials working from ground floor to the 7th floor. Most of the officials responded that they would not come to the FBR House on Thursday till the building has been completely sanitized.
An FBR official on condition of anonymity said that the secretary projects, who has been tested positive with the COVID-19, had recently attended a meeting with other FBR officials.
The FBR employees who remained in contact with the said FBR secretary projects are also very much worried and are thinking about having their tests done.
The number of cases with Covid-19 positive has been increasing in the field formations of the FBR, as now 16 employees/officers of Regional Taxpayer's Office (RTO) Quetta, LTU Islamabad and one at FBR House have been found infected with the virus.
Earlier, the FBR's female official from Large Taxpayer's Unit (LTU) Islamabad was found Covid-19 positive as she was already admitted into hospital.
According to a recent order issued by the RTO Islamabad, authorities have asked the relevant government agencies to exempt officers and officials of the RTO Islamabad from lockdown. After detection of a case at LTU Islamabad, both the LTU Islamabad and Regional Tax Office (RTO) Islamabad (main offices are in the same building) remained closed for few days. Now the number of cases has risen to 16 among officials. The situation has now become a cause of alarm for the working staff. When FBR's spokesman was contacted for comments, he said that suspected case was found at 7th floor and now the Chairperson FBR and Policy Wing are working. The rest is closed and disinfection/fumigation will be done. The FBR will be back in full business on Monday, he added.