ISLAMABAD: The suspension of six officers from service for three months has sparked a new debate among the officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Officials on the conditions of anonymity told Customs Today about different views on the issue by the top FBR management.
Some termed the act as equal to de-motivating and out of context while few declared the decision as right one. The FBR officials have protested against this act on social media.
Two days ago, the FBR suspended six IRS officers of grade 16 to 18 vide notification duly signed by Secretary Management Uzma Munir on the charges that they had failed to dispose of the audit cases assigned to them as reflected in Taxpayers Audit Management System (TAMS).
The fact of the matter is that FBR monitors performance and efficiency of the Officers engaged in Audit through computer software and action is taken against those officers whose performance is found below the required threshold. The above six officers have been suspended for not meeting the required performance level in disposal of Audit cases.
The critics of this decision argued that FBR’s IT system was incapacitated to handle audit cases in such a bulk quantity as well as offices of the FBR spreading over Pakistan. Presently, there are over 100 offices of FBR both Inland Revenue and Customs in the country.
These offices are named as Large Taxpayers’ Units (LTUs), Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) and Tax Facilitation Centers (TFCs). Almost 22 offices are headed by higher officers of grade 20 and 21while remaining offices are headed by officers from grade 16 to 19. In small cities and towns with good revenue share like Gujrat, Khanewal, Toba Tek Singh and others these offices are given name as TFCs.
FBR adopted different IT systems namely IRIS, E-Filling, PRAL and others to meet its requirements. These systems are supposed to fulfill the needs of taxpayers audit and other departments. But with the passage of time and shifting from one to other IT system has reduced its capacity to handle all the aspects of the cases.
The Taxpayers Audit wing selected around 20, 000 returns filled by taxpayers for audit from multiple sectors. The first notice was sent electronic notice. FBR gave a specified time period to officers assigned for disposing off those audit of income tax returns.
However, through a monitoring process, eleven officers were found with zero performance on disposal off audit cases assigned to them and decided to suspend them. But, later it was found that officers were either recently appointed on the said posts or they had just received shortly due to inefficient IT system whereas the audit process assumed to take three months time.
Despite the abovementioned facts, FBR management suspended six officers two days back without considering incapacitation of the internal system or weighing the working capacity of officers because there were also two officers who had just started their career after passing CSS exam and were on probation period.
Therefore, it was not rational to expect well time accomplishment of task assigned to them because they were not well acquainted to the process and procedures.
Earlier, it was reported that these officers were suspended on corruption charges which forced FBR to clarification in this regard saying that certain sections of press mis-reported this fact and had given the impression that these officers were suspended on charges of “corruption” which was absolutely untrue
The officers opposed to suspension of these officers also observed that these officers were suspended without serving show cause notice, without seeking clarification as well as hearing their viewpoint and this act did not deem to in accordance to service rules.
Therefore, this act is no more than discouraging and de-motivation of the FBR officials because normally officers found with zero performance are provided with opportunity to clear their position.
Similarly, the suspension from service is equal to destroying the future service record as well as bringing bad repute in the social circles of the officers.
But, on the other hand officers supportive to this decision are of the viewpoint that it is a regular phenomena and practice in the FBR because suspended officers were repeated letters for early and timely dispose off the cases.
It is pertinent to note here that FBR placed six officers(BS-16-18) of Inland Revenue Service under suspension for a period of three (03) months with immediate effect. These officers included Wali Muhammad Shaikh (IRS/BS-18), Deputy Commissioner-IR, RTO-II, Karachi, Shafqat Rasool Sindhu (IRS/BS-18), Deputy Commissioner-IR, RTO, Gujranwala, Narjes Shaheen Ali Khan (IRS/BS-17), Assistant Commissioner-IR, RTO, Multan, Ali Saleh Hayat Kalyar (IRS/BS-17), Assistant Commissioner-IR, RTO, Sargodha, Muhammad Awais Ishaque (IRS/BS-17), Assistant Commissioner-IR, RTO, Islamabad and Sadiq Ali Bangash (IRS/BS-16), Inland Revenue Officer, RTO, Peshawar.