Jun 24: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said that the government would not extend the deadline of the tax amnesty scheme ending on June 30, 2019 and appealed to the people to declare their assets or face confiscation and punishment.
Talking to the Geo News’ special program “Pakistan Kay Liye Kar Dalo”, the prime minister said the government had collected unprecedented data that had never been done by any government in the past.
He said the incumbent government had also promulgated law on benami bank accounts and properties which provided for the confiscation of undeclared assets besides punishment.
“The worst diseases including cancer, diabetes and heart ailments are caused by mental stress. In the coming days, we will be compelled to collect taxes from the people and punish the tax evaders. We have to confiscate your undeclared assets. Make your life easy…This is golden opportunity for you to steer us (the country out of economic crisis) as well as save yourself from difficult time in future,” he advised.
He said Pakistan currently stood at the crossroads of do or die. The country was among the lowest tax payers nations and half of the collected tax went to the repayment of the interest on foreign loans.
He said the country had no other option but either to become a tax-paying civilized nation or face the consequence.
The prime minister said that the country’s economic condition had reached to that extent just due to corruption and non-payment of taxes.
He assured the people that the government would spend the tax-money for their welfare, and not for the luxury of the ruling class as had been practiced in the past.
The prime minister told the nation that the government had already reduced its expenditures by slashing the budgets of the PM House, Pakistan Army, besides 10 percent cut in the ministers’ salaries.
He said even he did not make any foreign visit until it was beneficial for the country. He said he was also invited to London for the cricket world cup event but he did not go there.
To a question, the prime minister said he had directed his team to establish a special helpline to receive complaints against any harassment by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Even the complainants would also be able to access him (the prime minister) through the online citizen portal.
He resolved that he and Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi had committed to reform the FBR to eliminate its fear among the people.
He assured that the government would introduce reforms in FBR at all levels even if it required to setting up a parallel system. He said the government would use technology in order to bring transparency in taxation.
The prime minister said the government had no other way out, else the debt trap would get severer.
He reiterated his appeal to the local as well as the overseas Pakistanis to take advantage of the scheme as the country could not be run until both the public and the government joined hands.
He said the people could also pay taxes in installments if they were unable to pay at the moment, but they would have to register themselves before the scheme's deadline.
He said money laundering had caused immense loss to the national economy as around $10 billion were laundered annually from Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran, who also responded to the questions from the participating representatives of chambers of commerce from across Pakistan, said the new budget had focused mainly on the alleviation of poverty and uplifting the business sector.
He said the government had allocated Rs 190 billion for its anti-poverty initiative Ehsas. Moreover, by extending maximum facilities to the business sector the government desired to alleviate poverty through jobs and wealth creation.
He said for the first time, the government had formulated the budget after detailed input from the business sector and was ready to incorporate their further input to enhance its productivity.
To a question, the prime minister confidently said the good days would return to Pakistan as it was the only state established in the name of Islam. He reiterated his resolve to develop Pakistan as a welfare state which would take responsibility for every citizen.
Responding to another query, the prime minister said the government would take measures to curb smuggling through tribal areas by creating alternative employment opportunities for the people there.