–Info minister says federal cabinet ‘discussed scheme in detail, all options came under threadbare discussion’
ISLAMABAD: A special meeting of the federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday failed to agree on the introduction of the amnesty scheme and postponed the matter till the next meeting for further deliberations.
The special meeting of the cabinet was convened after some of the cabinet members on Tuesday expressed reservations over the scheme that is expected to rope in Rs250 billion in a bid to facilitate benami accounts or assets holders to whiten their money.
In a tweet, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the “cabinet deliberated on all aspects of proposed asset scheme, all options came under threadbare discussion, it is decided that some provisions need further fine-tuning, matter is pended for next cabinet meeting.”
According to sources, some ministers during the Tuesday meeting had opposed the scheme, saying the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) used to oppose such schemes before coming into power, but now the party resorted to same practices, which might draw masses’ ire.
The members said that the scheme goes against the party’s manifesto and if it is about declaration of assets then the public should be taken into confidence on the basis of the scheme’s merit.
On the other hand, sources said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) did not prepare any media strategy to disseminate the message, as the PM believed that there would no benefit of this amnesty if the message couldn’t reach relevant people.
Imran’s close aide Murad Saeed, the minister for communications, had also shown apprehensions over the scheme, saying he wanted to know the difference between the proposed scheme and those launched by the previous governments.
UP TO 10% TAX OFFER:
The government is expected to give a chance to ‘benami’ accounts or assets holders to whiten their money by up to 10% tax offer in the new amnesty scheme which will end on June 30, 2019.
All companies and individuals except holders of public office since 1/1/2000, their spouses, children, brother and sisters or lineal ascendant or descendant; proceeds derived from commission of a criminal offence; and cases pending before a court of law with the exception of older pending litigation will be eligible to benefit from the scheme.
Sources told Pakistan Today that the incumbent government has learnt some lessons from the last amnesty scheme as 3,344 people repatriated and invested in the government securities. Similarly, under the liquid assets repatriated, 6,428 people whitened their money by paying just 2 per cent.
In the last scheme, filers and non-filers were 5,625 and 570 respectively, and they paid Rs47 billion. Moreover, sources further said that the government has also evaluated that people prefer to keep money outside the country while local money was used primarily for money whitening.