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Friday August 19, 2022

Imran opposes super tax

Imran announced holding a protest meeting on July 2 at the Parade Ground, Islamabad, against the government and its policies

June 26, 2022
Ex-PM Imran Khan addressing a news conference through a video link on June 25, 2022. Photo: Twitter/PTIOfficial
Ex-PM Imran Khan addressing a news conference through a video link on June 25, 2022. Photo: Twitter/PTIOfficial

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and ex-prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday expressed concern over the super tax imposed by the government and said it would increase pressure on industries and add to unemployment.

Imran announced holding a protest meeting on July 2 at the Parade Ground, Islamabad, against the government and its policies. He told a news conference through video-link from his Bani Gala residence that the nation should be clear that there was no preparation on the rulers’ part to fix the economy, reduce prices, even though there was a hue and cry “against us that inflation was hiking”. He emphasized that it should now be clear that the government had no plan to fix the economy, but one thing was in their mind as to how to take another ‘NRO’ as the first ‘NRO’ was taken from Musharraf.

He said he had never heard in Pakistan's history that a temporary budget was coming because they were not ready, so they brought in a temporary budget, while they earlier raised oil prices, which led to higher prices of other commodities. He said that now they had come up with another budget in which they had first ‘killed’ the common man economically. They raised the prices of petrol, diesel and electricity and would not stop here anymore. He said they had come up with a petroleum levy which was Rs 50 per litre and would now further increase the prices of petroleum products. “When the prices go up, the common man who is already in trouble due to global inflation caused by corona will be further burdened,” he regretted.

Imran said that due to super tax, the corporate tax would go up to 39 per cent while India and Bangladesh had 25 per cent that meant that this tax would make the things costlier. Likewise, he pointed out, the cost of making things would be expensive and this would have the biggest impact on employment as industries provided the highest employment and many industries had just started making people unemployed. The situation would deteriorate further. He said the impact this had on investors in the stock market was in front of everyone. Besides, the rupee had also been affected even though it had strengthened a little on the news of external debt but then went down.

He said diesel being expensive and load-shedding would affect farmers and Pakistan's production, then the salaried class to which he earlier gave exemption had now been brought under Rs 100,000 to Rs 50,000 slabs. Those whose salary was Rs 50,000 or Rs 100,000 had also been taxed. Thus the salaried class already in difficulty would be facing more difficulties.

The PTI chairman said: “This will force people to evade taxes while we collected record taxes and had found out the mortgage of people through artificial intelligence. We had planned how to bring them into the tax net and increase the tax net. We had brought in a track and trace system to end sales tax evasion and had selected 20 industries and started track and trace system on 3 and planned to go to the entire 20.” Imran noted when the market came to know that they were not ready, the rupee started falling rapidly and its impact was yet to come. This budget was not only causing inflation but would also affect “our employment, industry and agriculture”.

He again criticized the government for NAB law amendments and said that ‘we have gone to the Supreme Court of Pakistan to challenge the amendments they have made to the NAB Act and I have full faith in our judiciary”. He alleged that what they (rulers) were going to do was the destruction of the country. They had exempted all big robbers from accountability. “Today if I am very corrupt, they have given me exemption. I will loot the country as much as I can, but, under the law they passed, no one would be able to catch me but small thieves,” he lamented.

Regarding NAB law amendments, he said they had dug the grave of the accountability system and that Pakistan's future was now dark. He said the NAB had recovered Rs 280 billion before 2018 and then made recoveries worth Rs 480 billion in the PTI government. He said if they succeeded to change NAB laws, Pakistan would become a banana republic.

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