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PM Imran, finance team answer questions about asset declaration, taxes in Geo News Special Transmission

PM Imran, finance team answer questions about asset declaration, taxes in Geo News Special Transmission

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan made a surprise appearance in Geo’s special transmission on asset declaration scheme on Monday.

This was for the first time that people asked questions from the Prime Minister and his finance team directly.

Geo TV will re-telecast the programme  at  01:00am-03:00am tonight and  04:00pm-06:00pm  on Tuesday (today).

During the conversation in Hamid Mir’s programme ‘Pakistan Key Liye Kar Daalo,’ on Geo News, PM Imran Khan gave two assurances. “Tax will be spent on the welfare of the people and secondly nobody will be allowed to harass the taxpayers.”

PM Imran Khan said that people do not pay taxes as they fear for corruption.

“I assure the Pakistani public, taxpayers’ money will be spent on welfare of the people,” he said.

Imran Khan said that Pakistan was at ‘crossroads’. Khan said tax collection rate in Pakistan is the lowest in world.

PM Imran added in the past 10 years, we took many loans and a lot of the expenditure goes in the interest on loans.

The premier said: “If we have to return loans, we will have to generate wealth from within Pakistan. We have to face a difficult period before we can witness a good time.”

Imran Khan said, “FBR will be reformed.”

He also appealed to the Pakistani nation for unity as they had shown  at the time of floods and earthquake.

Imran Khan went on to say that Benami property will be confiscated in addition to other punishments.

Regarding tax amnesty scheme, Khan said there will be no extension after June 30. He advised  the people  to register before the  given time , adding  they can make the payments in easy installments if   they  cannot pay them off now.

To a question, Imran Khan said he had declared all his assets, adding that he earned money abroad and brought it to Pakistan.

PM gives examples from the State of Madina, saying a leader is answerable.

Advisor to PM on Finance, Dr Hafeez Shaikh, who was also present in the programme, said after declaring the assets you can pay the tax in installments.

He said we want to widen the coverage of tax system, adding that it is a chance for those holding benami (unnamed) assets to come in the tax net.

Hafeez Shaikh added increasing exports and income (revenue) are two biggest pillars of PTI government’s budget. We are not putting any tax on exports, he said.

We are also considering how the revenue can be raised, he said.

Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar said the government has collected data of 152,000 offshore accounts. Further information from other countries is also being received.

He said that data of those people who declare their assets will be protected. He assured the people that their data is safe and no one can harass them.

Hammad Azhar further said ‘this amnesty scheme is the first and the last of PTI government.”

He said that the person who does not avail this opportunity would be very unfortunate.

Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi said transferring the ownership of assets including house to others’ name is also ‘benami’ (unnamed property), adding that holding benami assets may cause a 5-year imprisonment.

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