ISLAMABAD  -    In a major development, the federal government on Friday decided to remove the Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Tariq Bajwa and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Mohammad Jehanzab Khan from their positions.

This is the second major decision of the PTI-led government to change its economic team after replacing former finance minister Asad Umar with Abdul Hafeez Shaikh last month. Sources informed that the federal government was unhappy with the performance of FBR Chairman especially in terms of tax collection. Prime Minister Imran Khan had expressed concerns over the performance of FBR, which is struggling to achieve the target despite mini budgets. The rumours of removing the chairman FBR was circulating from last few days after FBR failed to improve its tax collection.

Tax collection shortfall had increased to Rs345 billion during ten months (July to April) of the ongoing fiscal year. The FBR had collected Rs2.995 trillion in taxes as against Rs3.35 trillion ten-month target, showing shortfall of Rs345 billion. The FBR is unlikely to achieve the annual target of Rs4398 billion by the end of current financial year. The government had introduced two mini budgets during the last 9 months but failed to improve tax collection.

An official said that Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, wants to bring his own team ahead of the federal budget for next fiscal year. The government is planning to present next budget by the end of current month.

The government has removed the two main heads of economic departments at the time when a delegation of International Monetary Fund (IMF) is in Islamabad for finalizing the new loan programme.

The sources said that Prime Minister had asked the Governor SBP to resign from the post. Following the directions of Prime Minister, Tariq Bajwa has tendered his resignation.

The previous government had appointed Bajwa as head of central bank in July 2017 for a period of three years.