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New tax body to be formed if FBR fails: Imran

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March 8, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan warned if the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) failed in tax collection task, he will be constrained to create a new FBR.

Addressing the business community here Thursday, the prime minister said if the tax collection authority could not be fixed, he would create a new one.

He reminded that reforming FBR is high on his agenda. Until that is done, the state will not be able to meet our expenses," the prime minister said in an address to the 11th All-Pakistan Chambers President Conference in Islamabad.

"This is why we will try our best [to fix] FBR and I assure you [the business community] that I've been constantly having discussions and meetings with Abdul Razzaq Dawood and Asad Umar on how to generate revenue and make FBR a business-friendly institute. "But I should also tell you this: if we realise that the FBR cannot be fixed, we will create a new FBR. This is because Pakistan's survival is linked to it. It's not about our liking or disliking: if our tax collection authority does not function properly, it could become a security risk. No nation that relies on loans can maintain its pride and independence," he said.

The prime minister urged the nation to come into the tax net, adding that in return he would guarantee that their tax would not be misspent. "I assure you that each and every penny of Pakistanis' tax collection will be spent with great caution," he said. "We will end all unnecessary expenses. But what I want from you is to tell the people that it is impossible for any country to succeed without paying their taxes. How can it be that of the 210 million Pakistanis only 72,000 declare monthly income of Rs200,000 or more?” The prime minister said that effective tax collection is central to any country’s independence as “constant borrowing to make ends meet” eventually becomes a threat to its sovereignty.

Imran Khan said he could even be open to slashing taxes to extend the tax net but stressed that “paying taxes should be considered a national duty”. Prime Minister Khan assured the business community that his government will do all it can to facilitate them, indicating that “some more incentives are coming your way in the upcoming days”.

He sought business community’s cooperation in translating his vision of an Islamic welfare state into reality. Bringing improvements in the lifestyle of common man is government’s priority. He said he wants to lift the poor people out of poverty and that is only possible when state is in a better financial position.

The prime minister said government will facilitate the business community by resolving all its problems.

Imran Khan said steps are being taken to improve the conditions of institutions. The prime minister said reforms in FBR will help government collect more taxes to run the government affairs. He said FBR will be turned into a professional and business-friendly institution.

Imran Khan said the culture of tax evasion will also need to be changed. If a nation does not pay taxes, it cannot enjoy freedoms. The prime minister said paying tax is a national obligation and a tax culture will be developed in the country to attain autarky and national honour.

Imran Khan said government is facilitating the foreign and domestic investors alike by improving ease of doing business and a liberal visa regime to woo them to invest in many lucrative industries in the country. He expressed optimism that investment will increase in the country in the coming months. He said in order to narrow the current account deficit, steps are being taken to overcome money laundering.

The prime minister said that the bill passed will help the business community in tax refunds. Imran Khan said the fast moving wheel of business will create job opportunities for youth.

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