–PM warns tax evaders won’t be able to escape govt’s crackdown after June 30 deadline
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a televised address on Monday morning, again appealed to citizens to declare their assets by June 30.
“I am appealing to all of you to take part in the Asset Declaration Scheme that we have brought, because if we don’t pay taxes, we will not be able to raise our country up,” the premier said, ahead of the federal budget for fiscal year 2019-20, which is scheduled to be announced on Tuesday.
“We will need to change ourselves if we want to become a great country,” Prime Minister Imran said.
The premier said that people had until June 30 declare their benami assets, benami bank accounts and money that was kept abroad.
“After June 30, you will not get this opportunity,” he said.
“Remember our government today has that information which no government before had.”
He added that they had made agreements and were receiving information from abroad about properties and bank accounts of Pakistanis.
“Our agencies have information about who has benami accounts and benami properties,” the premier said, adding that: “This was never available to us before therefore take advantage of this scheme. Give Pakistan the benefit. Fix your children’s future. [Give us] the chance that we get this country to stand on its own two feet and take people out of poverty.”
“Take full advantage of this scheme,” he said.
This is the second time that the premier has appealed to the people to declare their benami assets and bank accounts under the government’s Assets Declaration Scheme by June 30.
At the start of his address, Imran said: “My Pakistanis, in the past 10 years Pakistan’s debt went from Rs6,000 billion to Rs30,000 billion.”
He said that the damage that this had caused to the country was that the annual tax collected was approximately Rs4,000 billion, half of which went towards repaying loans “they” had taken.
“This country cannot cover its expenses on the money that is left behind,” he added.
“Pakistan is the country that unfortunately gives the least tax in the world but is among the few countries that give the most charity.”
“This is the country that has [the] capability and if passion comes in, we can at the very least gather Rs10,000 billion every year,” the premier said before appealing to the Pakistani people to take part in the Asset Declaration Scheme.
In May, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had announced its first tax amnesty scheme — Asset Declaration Scheme — for whitening of undisclosed expenditures, sales and assets, including foreign assets, at nominal tax rates.
The scheme came into effect through a presidential ordinance, which will offer a period of 45 days to people for declaration of their undeclared assets, expenditures, and sales along with payment of taxes until June 30 this year.
The scheme, approved by the federal cabinet during a meeting presided over by the premier, has five main pillars — scope, default surcharge, exclusions, tax rates and conditions.
Unlike past schemes no revenue realisation projection was made on the plea that it is meant for allowing the grey economy’s inclusion in the tax net.
The government plans to present an austerity-oriented budget providing a ‘slight’ relief to middle and low grade government employees, including military personnel, with no increase in the salaries of army officials of higher ranks.
This was announced by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan at a joint news conference with SAPM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Sunday.