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Fighting corruption within: FBR mulls setting up P&IMU over

Fighting corruption within: FBR mulls setting up P&IMU over

ISLAMABAD: With the aim to ferret out corruption and identify corrupt tax officials through integrity and performance evaluation, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to establish Performance and Integrity Management Unit (P&IMU) at its headquarters.

FBR Chairman Tariq Bajwa took the decision in a meeting on the P&IMU held here. It has also been decided that the unit would exclusively work to ferret out corruption and take stringent measures for its elimination. The corrupt officials would be picked on the basis of their profiles covering integrity and performance in the field formations. It has also been decided that the proposed P&IMU is imperative for institutional arrangement in FBR to make assessments on the integrity and performance of its employees. The P&IMU is likely to be established in the HRM Wing of FBR Headquarters.

A Committee, comprising Member (HRM), Member Inland Revenue Policy, Member Taxpayer Audit and Member information Technology, has been constituted to evaluate the proposals comprehensively and come up with its recommendations to the FBR.

It has been learnt that FBR Member (HRM) Yasmin Saud proposed the establishment of Integrity Management Unit in the Human Resources Management Wing. She explained the provisions of FBR Act, 2007 which intend to uphold the values of FBR employees, including integrity, and reflect upon FBR’s resolve to combat corruption and ensure integrity. The provisions included internal controls, accountability system, removal of grievances, assessment of integrity and the code of conduct.

Yasmin Saud elaborated the factors necessitating the establishment of an Integrity Management Unit to carry out the functions of integrity reporting, complaints handling, preparation of officers’ profiles, monitoring declaration of assets, coordinating with other agencies, developing curriculum on ethical values, generating periodical vigilance reports and developing a credible database of FBR employees.

The Member (HRM) proposed that the proposed unit must have unhindered access to the annual assets declarations, personal records, PER dossiers, complaint papers, previous enquiries, case related correspondence and the tax record, whenever required. She suggested that the proposed IMU may be headed by a BS-20 officer, reporting directly to the Member (HRM) or to the Member (Administration).

The FBR chairman has been learnt to have asked the officials to first ascertain whether there is any need for an integrity management unit in FBR? He argued that there was no arrangement whatsoever that enabled the FBR management to assess the integrity of an official and to have access to a credible database in this regard. All the members of the board agreed that the initiative must be taken to implement the true spirit of FBR Act, 2007 as far as integrity management is concerned.

By the common consent, the FBR chairman put three options to the board as regards placement of the proposed IMU i.e the Administration Wing, the Directorates General of Intelligence & Investigation and the HRM Wing. Majority of the members were of the view that such a unit should be set up in the HRM Wing owing to the international best practices and the fact that HRM already deals with performance allowance of the employees. The Administration Wing is already overburdened whereas the Directorates General of Intelligence & Investigation are primarily dealing with cases related tax fraud and evasion.

The third perspective highlighted dilated upon by the FBR chairman was that performance management of the employees that also needs to be taken into account for the purposes of internal control and accountability. The performance allowance, for instance, is not adequately linked with the quantity and quality of output of the officials and even the PERs hardly reflect the true performance of an employee in a particular period. The authorities proposed that the Board must come up with an institutional arrangement for assessment of both the integrity and performance of its employees on the basis of certain laid down criterion and suggested a Performance and Integrity Management Unit in FBR Headquarters. It was also clarified that complaint handling will not be the purview of the Performance and Integrity Management Unit and the existing arrangement shall continue.