ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has hinted at an extension in the Assets Declaration Scheme in order to avoid inconvenience caused to citizens by the June 30 deadline.
He made the remark while interacting with members of the business community on a special PTV News telethon via video link late Thursday night.
Speaking with the state broadcaster, the premier observed that “people believe their money would be wasted, which is why the government was making desperate efforts to earn the public trust”.
Prime Minister also urged the nation to play its role in taking the country out of debt trap.
The cricketer-turned-politician also recalled the history lesson and said that “in colonial times, people would not trust the government for paying taxes,” adding that “when Pakistan came into existence, people inherited this mentality”.
Khan noted that in developed countries the taxation is spent on public welfare thus helping the government attain public trust. The Prime Minister said the “government needs to give this [sort of] confidence to the people of Pakistan too so that they willingly pay their due taxes”.
He lamented that people do not trust FBR [Federal Board of Revenue] with their [tax] money while regretting that previous governments could not succeed in promoting tax culture.
“Pakistan stands at a crossroad. It means if people do not pay their taxes, the country cannot move forward. We [Pakistanis] have the capacity to pay 8000 billion rupees taxes annually. Each year they pay billions of rupees in charity and zakat.”
“Once it [the budget] passes, I will [personally] sit with [FBR Chairman] Shabbar Zaidi to clean the revenue authority of corrupt people. The taxation system will be digitized to minimize human involvement. A mechanism will also be evolved to provide tax refunds to the business community in order to facilitate them.”
The premier said our government will help investors create wealth for increasing employment opportunities for youth. The Prime Minister assured that no government authority will harass tax filers.
Blaming corruption for the ailing economy, the Prime Minister said no country can progress if its ruling elite is dishonest. He said corruption leads to inflation and unemployment.
Imran Khan said a small number of taxpayers cannot lift the burden of 220 million people. He said stunted growth, illiteracy, and poverty are the main reasons for fewer taxes collected by the government.
He said the government is implementing an austerity drive to bring down its expenditures. Cabinet members voluntarily decided ten percent cut in their salaries, he added.
He said the expenditure of Prime Minister House was brought down by 300 million rupees.