Wednesday August 17, 2022

Tax evaders sitting in Parliament: Khawaja Asif

Khawaja Asif has called for blocking the way of tax evaders and those who support them to the parliament

June 25, 2022
Khawaja Asif. Photo: The News/File
Khawaja Asif. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has called for blocking the way of tax evaders and those who support them to the parliament.

Speaking on floor of the National Assembly, he said, “We should pledge that we will not become Sifarshis (supporters) of tax evaders and would not allow them to enter the parliament by purchasing seats.”

He recalled that FBR officials had informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that there was $3 billion loss of import duty. “If there is such a huge loss of import duty, the country will continue to beg from the IMF and friendly countries,” he regretted.

He pointed out that tax evasion was being committed by billionaires and trillionaires, not poor people, through under-invoicing. “Those who used to evade taxes and duties have now made their way to the parliament and they have all luxuries of politics and they appease the rulers, so that they are not taxed,” he maintained. He said that all governments were “handcuffed” by tax evaders and as a result of misdeeds of such elements, they had to beg from financial institutions and friendly countries for getting life jackets.

“We will have to change this culture and big earners should pay taxes,” he stressed. He pointed out only two cigarette companies having a 60pc share of market were paying Rs151 billion tax every year while the remaining companies were depositing just Rs 2 billion tax per annum. “There is a huge anomaly in the payment of taxes,” he noted.

He pointed out: “People of companies and sectors, which evade taxes, are sitting in the parliament, whether it is the import of vehicles, electronics and others,” he added. Asif said the coalition government was rapidly coming out of the economic crisis while negotiating with mines laid by the previous PTI government.

“It is a matter of days, not weeks, that conditions will improve. I appreciate Miftah for his consistency and giving new directions to the traditional tax regime,” he said, adding that he would appreciate Miftah Ismail for facing criticism and presenting the “best” budget.