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April 20, 2019

Go digital

Newspost

 
April 20, 2019

In a new tax-amnesty scheme, our federal cabinet is mulling to declare money laundering ‘terrorism’. The Counter-Terrorism Department of the police would investigate such cases. Our lackadaisical performance to bring back financial offenders abroad deflates trust in police investigation. The FBR proposed rate-slabs, 1 to 5 percent, 10 percent and 15 percent, for various categories of offenders. The Financial Action Task Force has advised that `the amnesty scheme must not allow whitening of criminal proceeds in the shape of money laundering and terror financing through any such initiatives. The real problems are illicit money, cash-based economy and the common man’s distrust in banking transactions. In a digital system, imagine how difficult it would be for a corrupt person to take black-money currency notes to a bank to buy `white’ prize bonds. The government could prevent money laundering through simple steps like: (a) making it tax-free and easier for ordinary unbanked people to open accounts, and borrow. To bypass banking paperwork, less than 25 percent of people in developing countries fall back on formal sources for emergency financial needs. They prefer to rely on family, friends and disguised money landers; (b) mobile users are provided with internet access or digital financial services; (c) Chip cards are introduced to switch over from cash to digital payments (up to prescribed limits) and receipts. All payments in private and public sector should be paid into accounts operated by foolproof chip cards.

A J Malik

Rawalpindi

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