Tuesday Jun 25 2019
Web Desk

Got any questions on asset declaration? PM and his finance team answer all in a special, two-hour Geo News transmission

Web Desk

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his entire finance team on Monday responded to people's questions during Geo News' special, two-hour transmission Pakistan Keliye Kar Daalo.

In a surprise appearance in Geo News’ special transmission on the asset declaration scheme, Khan for the first time responded to questions from the public and representatives of the chambers of commerce of Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and Balochistan directly on live television.

Who can benefit from this scheme?

Not only individuals but companies can also benefit from this scheme, said PM's finance team. They added, however, that public-listed companies could not benefit from it.

Can tax payments be made in instalments?

Yes, said Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, the adviser to PM on Finance.

Which foreign remittances need to be declared?

Foreign remittances sent through legal means do not need to be declared, said PM's finance team.

Which vehicles are included in the scheme?

Non-custom-paid vehicles are not included in this scheme; however, a custom-paid but undeclared vehicle can be declared, said PM's finance team.

Any extension in the declarations?

Payments can be made later but, for now, ensure the declarations are made by June 30, Khan said. At least register by 30 even if you cannot make the payment now.

No extension will be given but Sunday will be open to facilitate people, said PM's finance team, and payments can be made in easy instalments as well.

Urgency of the scheme

I've seen my people in the earthquake in northern Pakistan in 2005, Khan said as he made a special appeal for people to unite just like they do at times of floods and earthquakes.

I've seen all those who helped. It was the expats who helped the most in pulling Pakistan out at that time, he added. Khan further stressed that half of the money collected through taxes had gone to servicing the country's debt.

Where will the paid taxes be spent?

People think their tax won't be spent on them and they believe it'll be stolen or won't be spent on them, Khan said, commenting further on the hesitance of Pakistanis regarding paying taxes and how their taxes would be used. He promised the taxes would definitely be spent on them.

Will tax-payers be harassed for paying taxes?

Nobody will be allowed to harass the tax-payers, Khan said. No one, no government body, not even the FBR, would harass the tax-payers, and the FBR will be reformed.

Benami properties and what will be done to them?

The information that the government has today, no government has had it previously. The benami [unnamed] properties will be confiscated in addition to other punishment.

It is noteworthy that $10 billion worth of money is laundered each year.

Sluggish registration and how to deal with it

Give good advice and we are willing to act upon that, Khan said in response to a question from Karachi that everybody could not be registered overnight and therefore things needed to be done gradually.

On bringing down the interest rate

If we have to return loans, we have to generate wealth from within Pakistan, Khan said while responding to a request from Lahore to ease the conditions for businesses by bringing down the interest rate.

Therefore, we have to face some difficult time before we can see a good time.

On Balochistan documents not being accepted in Punjab

We are looking at ways of how to get rid of smuggling in tribal areas and Balochistan but it will be done in a way that people do not become unemployed suddenly as, for many people, it is the only source of livelihood, Khan said, while responding to a question from Balochistan of how documents from Quetta were not accepted in Punjab, how there was no proper banking system in Quetta, and how it should be improved.

Punishment for not availing the scheme

A leader is answerable to his people, Khan said, citing the example of the state of Madina. He said we will be compelled to punish people and award them sentences if they don’t benefit from the scheme.

However, he added that people should pay their taxes, make their lives easy, and not live in constant fear of punishment.

Philanthropists should pay taxes too

I hope that the people who give charity will also give tax, Khan said, adding that Pakistan was one of the top five countries in terms of philanthropy.

The entire special transmission and the questions and answers can be watched here and here.