Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Pakistan‟s Governance Goliath: The Case of Non-ProfessionalChairman, FBR

The governance crisis of Pakistan‘s public sector is wide,deep and historically imbedded. There are a host of factors whichcontribute at varying degrees towards the extant of governance mess. Thebody of scholarship created to analyse the underlying factors of publicsector management mess of Pakistan is not only scant but also deficientin quality, coverage and construct validity. In the entireadministrative morass of Pakistan, the quagmire of Federal Board ofRevenue (FBR)—house of the state‘s extractive function—is by far themost sombre and serious one. The paper picks up FBR as the unit ofanalysis and there too, only one variable, that is, appointment of anon-professional generalist as its Chairman to analyse below parperformance of Pakistan‘s revenue function—by far the lowest in theworld. It posits that appointment of non-professional Chairman, FBR, isa compelling exposition of a collusive duopoly arrangement betweenelites and generalist cadres of Pakistan civil services—bothsymbiotically pursuing their perverse particularistic interests at theexpense of citizenry at large. The paper develops a theoreticalframework within which it attempts to analyse domination of Pakistan‘sextractive function over history from various dimensions. It arguesthat, since the entire institutional infrastructure of the state hasfallen hostage to elitesgeneralist duopoly paradigm, the control of itsextractive function is only a logical consequence thereof, and that anon-professional generalist chairman is imposed on the revenue functiononly to precisely, and fully control the extractive policy formulationprocess as well as the extractive operations on the ground—to theultimate advantage of the duopoly. JEL Classification: H1 Keywords:Public Sector Management, Federal Board of Revenue, Civil Service ofPakistan, Inland Revenue Service, Chairman, FBR,Institutionalism

Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed