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June 25, 2019

FPCCI vows to support crackdown against tax evaders

Business

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APP
June 25, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Monday vowed to fully support the government for the crackdown on tax evaders to broaden the tax base and documentation of the economy.

“The decision was taken with consensus at a high-level meeting with United Business Group (UBG) Chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik in the chair,” FPCCI President Daroo Khan Achakzai said in a statement.

Achakzai urged the business community to avail the tax amnesty scheme introduced by the government by declaring their undisclosed assets by June 30 for avoiding any scrutiny in the future and help steer the country out of the prevailing economic crisis.

The amnesty scheme would help put the economy on sound footings; thus, lessening the burden on the existing taxpayers, he said, adding that Pakistan was the sixth largest country in the world and hardly one percent of the population was paying taxes.

“One percent Pakistanis are bearing the burden of 220 million people. This is impossible,” he said, adding: “No country can serve its people if tax evaders are not brought under the tax net.”

The amnesty scheme launched in 1958 helped recover Rs1.12 billion from undeclared assets; followed by Rs920 million in 1968, Rs1.5 billion in 1976, Rs10 billion in 2000, Rs3.16 billion in 2008 and around Rs120 billion in 2018.

In comparison, the FPCCI president said that the amnesty scheme launched by Indonesia in 2016 had brought around 745,000 persons into the tax net and recovered over $330 billion from undeclared assets.

Malik said that the government should follow the Indonesian model for amnesty scheme to extract maximum benefits for the economy, adding that the validity of the scheme up to June 30 was a very short period for its success.

Enhancing the tax base and revenue generation was imperative for the provision of better economic and social services to the people, he said, adding that the taxation and growth should go hand-in-hand, and it can only be done through fair taxation system.

“If growth of business and economy will be choked, there will be no increase in tax collection,” he added. The ratio of taxpayers in Pakistan was even less than Afghanistan, he said, adding that broadening the tax base was a must for strengthening the national economy and for the survival of the country.

Malik also said Pakistan needed such type of amnesty scheme because people transferred their money abroad due to terrorism and poor law and order situation in the past. The law and order situation is now fully restored in the country and people can bring their money back by taking full advantage of the new scheme, he said.

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