Minister: (Tax amnesty scheme designed for rapid national development: Minister)

ISLAMABAD:Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan on Tuesday said the recent tax amnesty scheme is different from the schemes announced earlier and it will pave the way for rapid national development.

He said that the scheme has been announced by keeping ground realities, economic problems, international laws and prevailing environment, therefore, criticism is unwarranted.

Khan said this while speaking at a pre-budget meeting at FPCCI Capital Office. Chairman FBR Tariq Mehmood Pasha, President FPCCI Ghazanfar Bilour and representatives of dozens of trade association from all over the country were also present on the occasion.

The Minister for Revenue said that if the recent scheme attracts five to ten billion dollars it will resolve a lot of the problems country is facing.

He informed that the trade deficit has emerged as the greatest challenge and all possible steps are being taken to tackle it. He said that we are changing tax culture which will make the country self-sufficient if the business community feels safe.

He said that the political instability has reflected on the economy however the government is trying best to minimize its impact.

The trade agreements have not increased exports but triggered imports which is unsustainable therefore all such deals in future will be thoroughly vetted and the input from the business community would be preferred, he said.

Haroon Akhtar Khan informed that regulatory duties have been imposed on imports while currency has been devalued which has increased exports by 24 percent in the month of March while imports have been reduced to 6 percent from 26 percent.

He informed that the incumbent government doubled revenue to 1946 billion while kept average inflation at four percent. Tax to GDP ration was increased by almost three percent while corporate tax was slashed by five percent which can be further reduced in case of tax net expansion.

We are giving all possible support to all sectors of the economy including builders and developers while the legal imports of computers have doubled due to tax reforms. He said that we are trying to reduce dependence on imports and boost manufacturing without which country cannot thrive.

Earlier, President FPCCI and other business leaders including Senator Ilyas Bilour, Zubair Tufail, Abdul Rauf Alam, Mazhar Ali Nasir, Arif Jeeva, Haji Irfan Yousaf, Zubair Ahmed Malik, Karim Aziz Malik, Malik Sohail Hussain, Zahid Shinwari and others informed the minister about several issues and sought early resolution.