FBR chairman’s removal leads to SAPM Waqar Masood’s resignation: sources – Press Release

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Former special assistant to Prime Minister on finance and revenues Dr Waqar Masood
Former special assistant to Prime Minister on finance and revenues Dr Waqar Masood
  •  Waqar Masood played a key role in Asim Ahmed’s appointment as chairman FBR.
  • When the finance minister took the decision to appoint Mohammad Ashfaque as Chairman FBR, Dr Waqar Masood decided to quit.
  • FBR’s Asim Ahmed says he do not know the exact reason for his removal. 

ISLAMABAD: The ‘unceremonious’ removal of outgoing chairman FBR Asim Ahmed and appointment of new Chairman Dr Mohammad Ashfaque Ahmed has left no option for Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood but to tender his resignation, said well informed sources.

According to a report published in The News, Dr Masood has so far been tightlipped and remained inaccessible despite making several attempts by this correspondent. Sources close to him said that he would be waiting for the issuance of a formal notification for accepting his resignation.

This development was initiated last Sunday when Federal Minister for Finance and Revenues Shaukat Tarin held a meeting with Dr Waqar Masood and outgoing chairman Asim Ahmed in Karachi and indicated that the FBR chairman would be replaced and Dr Ashfaque would be appointed as the new chairman FBR.

This perturbed Dr Waqar Masood as he had played a key role in Asim Ahmed’s appointment as chairman FBR. Official sources said that when the finance minister took the decision to appoint Dr Mohammad Ashfaque as chairman FBR, Dr Waqar Masood decided to quit from his position as SAPM on Finance and Revenues. Secondly, Dr Waqar Masood was not comfortable with the execution mechanism related to the ambitious Kamyab Jawan Program (KJP).

Dr Waqar Masood had played an important role in removing former secretary finance Kamran Afzal and brought Yousaf Khan as Secretary Finance just ahead of the last budget for 2021-22. This decision sent a wrong message to top bureaucrats working in the Finance Division and the choice of the incumbent secretary finance also proved wrong.

According to media reports, Dr Waqar Masood had tendered his resignation after differences surfaced with key economic players on major issues. Prime Minister Imran Khan accepted Dr Waqar Masood’s resignation.

The government also replaced Chairman FBR Asim Ahmed with Dr Ashfaque Ahmed. In the three years of the PTI government, Dr Ashfaque Ahmed becomes the seventh Chairman of FBR.

Top official sources told The News, “The mishandling of FBR data hacking fiasco and then sharing of data with NADRA became major bone of contention and led to unceremonious removal of outgoing chairman FBR Asim Ahmed. The federal cabinet approved the appointment of Dr Mohammad Ashfaque Ahmed as new Chairman FBR through a special agenda item.”

Dr Waqar’s resignation may result in suspension of IMF programme

With the jolt in the Finance Ministry and FBR with the resignation and removal, it will have far-reaching impact on the ongoing IMF program. Now there is none in the Finance Ministry who has experience under his belt like Dr Waqar Masood for finalising any workable deal with the IMF for the resumption of the Fund programme.

“The resignation of Dr Waqar Masood may result in suspension of the IMF programme because he possessed the experience and capability to avoid major disruptions in negotiations with the lender of the last resort,” said the official sources.

Meanwhile, outgoing chairman FBR Asim Ahmed Tuesday night said he did not know about the exact reason for his removal but probably it was because of efforts to hack data. “I fully assume responsibility for hacking of the data effort being head of the department at that time instead of holding someone else responsible for it,” he said in a brief chat with this reporter.

Asim said he had performed in accordance with the best of his abilities and enhanced the FBR’s revenue collection target in difficult times. Asim said he had been made OSD and wished best of luck to the new team.

He said the position of chairman FBR was a difficult assignment, as in the process of performing duties many people got annoyed. He said he had not met Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin after his removal, so he did not know about the exact reason for the decision. 

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