Pakistan's new government has appointed a longtime government administrator as the new chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), tasking him with improving the country's woeful tax collection rate. Prime Minister Imran Khan has made boosting tax collection as a top priority for his government, appealing to overseas Pakistanis to invest in the country and urging the wealthy to pay more income tax.
The new FBR chief, Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan, formerly secretary of the Board of Investment, is an outsider to the tax agency, and will be the department's fourth boss in the past two years. Revenue collection is a perennial problem in a nation famous for tax dodging, where less than 1 percent of the population files income tax. Appointed on Thursday evening to take over the FBR, which the new government has tabled to undergo major reform, Jahanzeb Khan will take over the post "with immediate effect," the government said in a statement.
Jahanzeb Khan, who is not related to the prime minister, belongs to the elite Pakistan Administrative Service, whose officers are appointed to management jobs in the federal bureaucracy. He is the fifth FBR chairman to be appointed in as many years. Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party faces a brewing economic crisis, requiring Pakistan to seek outside help to reduce balance of payments pressures that could trigger a full-blown currency crisis, as well as reducing the 6.8 percent fiscal deficit in the $305 billion economy.