ISLAMABAD: In a major jolt to the economic team negotiating with the visiting IMF Mission on the fresh bailout package of $6.4 billion, the government has removed Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Tariq Bajwa. Bajwa tendered his resignation with immediate effect.
There are also reports about replacing the FBR Chairman Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan but no formal notification to this effect was issued by the Establishment Division till the filing of this report late on Friday night. Different names, including Dr Waqar Masood, Abdul Wajid Rana and Dr Ashfaque Hassan Khan, are under consideration for appointment of a new SBP governor.
After the exit of Asad Umar as finance minister, the government is bringing major changes to its economic team. The government had recently appointed Younas Dagha as Secretary Finance and there were reports about the removal of the SBP governor and FBR chairman. Tariq Bajwa was Friday asked to tender his resignation because the SBP governor could not be replaced with an executive order. Bajwa was appointed as the SBP governor in July 2017 for three years and his term was going to complete in July 2020. “The government has asked me to tender resignation, so I decided to resign from my position,” Tariq Bajwa confirmed to The News when contacted on Friday night. Bajwa said he did not know the reason for his removal and no one discussed with him his removal. “Today I was asked to tender resignation and I did it,” headded. He was reluctant to comment any further. However, when asked about the timing of his resignation when the IMF mission is in the town for a bailout, he said the timing is bad but he wouldn’t comment any further in that regard.
On the replacement of FBR Chairman Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, top sources said he had worked until evening and his staff was not aware of any development in this regard. The government enjoys powers to replace any bureaucrat from one to another position but no notification of Jehanzeb Khan’s removal was issued till late Friday night. The FBR chairman has drawn severe criticism for the massive revenue shortfall during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year. The FBR is facing a shortfall of Rs355 billion in the first ten months at a time when the FBR is trying to collect Rs4,398 billion till June 30. Khan had always told his close officers that he wanted to correct the system so no one should get advances to inflate the revenue figures. Sources said lobbying might start among the Inland Revenue Service or Customs Group for the top slot in case of the top officer’s change.
News desk adds: According to a foreign news agency, a source at the prime minister’s office confirmed both had been sacked. Local TV channels also reported that both officials had been removed.