Published Date: Jun 25, 2019
Steps taken to go after tax evaders with Nadra’s help: ministry official
ISLAMABAD: Adviser, Ministry of Finance, Dr Khaqan Najeeb on Monday outlined the measures taken by the government to go after tax evaders with the help of Nadra.
Addressing a public seminar titled ‘SDPI Post-Budget (2019-20) Analysis’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Dr Khaqan, who is also the official spokesperson, said the Benami Law 2017 was now effective in the country and it will be implemented from July 1.
“The government has details of 152,000 expats’ foreign assets data and bank accounts, 14,000 unregistered cars and data of transactions of domestic accounts,” Dr Najeeb said, adding that “now the time has come to go after tax evaders and the category of non-filer is being abolished.”
He also added that the expense on the civil and defence side needed to be controlled.
Dr Najeeb said Pakistan’s 11pc tax-to-GDP ratio is not sustainable and ambitious tax revenue target of Rs5,555 billion shows the direction of the budget, which indicates the government’s objective to enhance its revenue collection through austerity measures and direct taxation.
At the same time, he added that the budget 2019-20 was highly subsidised, where Ahsas programme was raised to Rs193 billion from around Rs120 billion and electricity subsidy from Rs168 billion to Rs217 billion. There has been allocation for Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme and Kamyab Jawan Programme to help protect the low strata of the society, he added.
Analysing the budget, SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said the first federal budget of PTI was more or less the same as previous five budgets under the IMF programme.
“However, this time the federal government, after paying the provincial share under the National Finance Commission Award (NFC), would be left with only Rs3,462 billion which will be spent on paying debt payments,” he said.
“But all the expenditure under the Public Sector Development Programme, defence expenditure and day-to-day expenses need to be financed by borrowing from external sources,” he added.
Dr Suleri emphasised the need for synchronising Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) data with the help of technology as determining factor to help reach tax evaders to achieve the ambitious target of Rs5,555 billion revenue collection.
He said the government should make the asset declaration scheme successful to get rid of indirect taxes, and meet the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) conditions. Besides the government should evolve a regulatory mechanism to document gold and real-estate market where a substantial amount of assets and money is parked, he added.
PML-N MNA Romina Khurshid Alam said the economy should not be politicised as the country could not run successfully without a strong economy, adding that there was no authority and regulatory mechanism in place to keep a check on such inflations.