Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday asked all citizens to declare their assets by June 30 through the Asset Declaration Scheme. “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,” Khan said in a televised address, Dawn reported.
The prime minister’s remarks come at a time of economic crisis in Pakistan, and a day before the announcement of its 2019-’20 annual budget.
“We will need to change ourselves if we want to become a great country,” Khan said. He added that people can declare their benami assets, benami bank accounts and money kept abroad till June 30.
“After June 30, you will not get this opportunity,” Khan said. “Remember our government today has that information which no government before had. Our agencies have information about who has benami accounts and benami properties.”
Under the scheme, assets within the country can be turned into white, except real estate, after paying interest of 4%. The assets will then be kept in Pakistan’s bank accounts. People who want to keep their white money abroad will be charged a rate of 6%.
The prime minister said that in the last 10 years, the country’s external debt increased from (Pakistani) Rs 6,000 billion (Rs 2.85 lakh crore) to Rs 30,000 billion (Rs 14.25 lakh crore). He said that while the tax collected annually was around Rs 4,000 billion, half this money was spent in paying off loans. “This country cannot cover its expenses on the money that is left behind,” he added.
Khan said that while Pakistan pays the least tax in the world, it also “gives the most to charity”. “This is the country that has capability and if passion comes in, we can at the very least gather Rs 10,000 billion every year,” he claimed.
Pakistan has missed growth targets in most sectors: Report
Pakistan’s Economic Survey for 2018-’19 will be declared on Monday, Dawn reported on Sunday. The newspaper said it has accessed some of the details of the report, which show that only the livestock sector performed better than the government’s official target for the year.
All other sectors of the economy performed poorly, including industry, which grew at 1.4% against the target of 7.6%. Manufacturing growth rate was minus 0.3%, and large scale manufacturing minus 2%, the daily said. Pakistan’s service sector grew by 4.7% against the target of 6.5%.
Dawn said Pakistan’s economy grew at just 3.3% during the 2018-’19 financial year, against a target of 6.3%.
On May 13, Pakistan reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a $6-billion bailout package over five years. On June 5, the Pakistan military announced cuts in its defence budget, though it did not reveal the extent of the cutback.