ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday took notice of the “willful” delay in tax cases and ordered suspension of the commissioner inland revenue Islamabad and other relevant officials.

He also asked for initiating an inquiry against the officials, said the media wing of Prime Minister Office in a press release.

Soon after assuming the office, the prime minister had directed for immediate reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and decided to oversee the process himself.

According to the press release, cases involving billions of rupees related to government revenues had been pending for adjudication in tax tribunals.

The prime minister had already requested the chief justice of Pakistan for early disposal of such cases.

Recently, the prime minister took notice of one of these pending cases in which an FBR counsel had sought adjournment and directed the relevant authorities to inquire into the matter. The prime minister observed that the national exchequer had been suffering due to the pendency of such cases involving worth billions of rupees.

Mr Sharif made it clear that he would not tolerate any kind of lethargy in pursuance of such legal matters and would continue monitoring the tax reforms.

He was quoted in the press release as saying: “For enhancing the revenues and saving every penny of the country and nation, they would have to strive day and night.”

Recently, the prime minister had said he will himself monitor the performance of the FBR and vowed to adopt the world’s best model for digitisation of FBR to ensure transparency in its system, increase tax collection, halt tax evasion, corruption and smuggling, and also to bring convenience to the general public.

In an attempt to stabilise the nation’s faltering economy, the newly-elected government has embarked on crafting a detailed five-year strategy aimed at rejuvenating key economic sectors.

The prime minister, while presiding over a meeting on the five-year strategy, had said tax revenue would be increased with digitisation and technology while per-acre yields in the agriculture sector would also be increased with the use of technology. The loss-making government institutions would be privatised on a priority basis, he added.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2024

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