Friday Jun 28 2019
Web Desk

Asset Declaration Scheme likely to be extended as FBR struggles to get desired results

Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue is likely to extend the Asset Declaration Scheme by three months as it struggles to get desired results, sources informed on Friday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had hinted at extending the deadline of the assets declaration scheme, indicating that a new programme may be introduced in the next 48 hours.

According to sources, the scheme is likely to get an extension so more and more people can benefit from it.

Meanwhile, FBR spokesman said that there will be no extension in the scheme.

At present, the deadline of the assets declaration scheme is June 30 and PM Imran Khan has repeatedly stressed that there would be no extension in the deadline.

Speaking with the state broadcaster, Pakistan Television (PTV), about the assets declaration scheme, the PM said the people believe that their tax payments would be wasted, which is why his government was making efforts to help the public realise their money would only be spent on them.

"If the people do not pay taxes, we would be unable to pull ourselves out of this quicksand of loans. We need to work together to pull our country out of this quicksand of loans," he said.

"If the public wishes, we can easily collect taxes worth Rs8 trillion. It is now up to the people to decide if we want to work together to help the country sustain itself" independently, he added.

Tax culture could not take off due to prior leaders, PM Imran reasoned, adding that Pakistan's biggest problem was corruption, which leads to inflation and unemployment.

Corruption also ruins the state institutions, the premier noted, adding that a country can only progress when its leaders are under the law. "A ruler who engages in corruption forces its state institutions into destruction," he mentioned.

When the ruling elite do not pay taxes, he went on to say, then everyone does the same. However, when the leader is answerable, then there is a prevalence of law in the country.

Former corrupt leaders destroyed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), he said, leading to dents to the small and medium industries. "Condition would not improve if we do not allow the business community to make money.

"We need to uplift our business community. Our government would be business-friendly," he noted.

As of now, the people do not trust the FBR, Khan said, and, therefore, there needed to be a weeding process in the body as well as reforms.

If FBR is not fixed, then there won't be any money left to run the country, the PM said, mentioning that he would work together with governmental body's chairperson Shabbar Zaidi to bring in reforms.

PM Imran further stressed that non-filers would be considered illegal but assured that no state institution would harass people once they become tax-filers.

In the budget presented earlier this month, attempts have been made to bump up Pakistan's industries, business community, and exports. "The tax we have collected will be used to pay interest on previous loans," the premier said.

"Some two million people pay taxes in Pakistan and that is the lowest rate of tax-payers in the world. No one can run a country this way," he said.

"If 210 million people even pour in some share [of money], the conditions can improve. I wish we become an honest nation because a nation that engages in bribery cannot be great.

"We do not have money to run the country. I urge the people to look upon and identify themselves. This nation was built to become an example to the world," he noted.

Pakistan needed to change its mindset and nothing in the world is impossible, the prime minister explained.

"The Prime Minister's Office has reduced its expenditure by Rs300 million while the Pakistan Army voluntarily cut down its own expenditures as well.

"These are difficult times. This had to happen. Problems persist until the income increases. We will curb our extravagance to increase our income."

Khan also reiterated his slogan: "There is no need to worry."

"Such times do come upon nations. Inshallah [God be willing], this difficult time too shall pass," he added.

Khan criticised the living style of those who have ruled Pakistan. "These people are afraid that this man [Imran Khan] would not give them NRO.

"It was the NRO jacked up this country's debt from Rs6 trillion to Rs30 trillion in 10 years. The son of a three-time prime minister lives in a £90-million house.

"We need to make the tax-payers VIP and send those engaging in corruption to where they deserve to be: jail."

It is noteworthy that PM Imran and his entire finance team had answered the public's questions during a special, two-hour transmission called Pakistan Keliye Kar Daalo on Monday.