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Imran Khan urge industrialists to work with the govt

18 July, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday urged traders, businessmen and industrialists to come forward and work with the government in cohesion for collection of taxes which were a prerequisite for running the country’s financial matters.

Addressing an award distribution ceremony of the Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce, the prime minister invited the traders’ community and industrialists to work as a team with the government. He expressed the confidence that with collective efforts, they would overcome the current difficult phase of economy.

He regretted that the country was burdened with whopping debts of Rs 30,000 billion in the last decade by the previous rulers and half of collected taxes went for payment of those loans and interest.

The prime minister said the country could no longer function under such conditions and the mindset. About 70 per cent of the total tax collected was being paid by 300 companies alone whereas the ratio of paying taxes in the service and agriculture sectors was dismal. “We have to change the mindset as the country can no longer run on the old patterns. It is indispensable to broaden the tax net,” he said, adding that in the past, the people did not trust the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) due to their bitter experience.

In 2013, the prime minister said, the then minister had admitted huge corruption in the FBR but now it was being reformed. About resistance showed by certain groups of traders over tax measures, Imran Khan declared that he would not bow to the pressure and such tactics, and budge from the steps as it would amount to disloyalty with the country.

He observed that the country did not have financial resources whereas on the other hand, the people were demanding establishment of schools, universities and hospitals. It could only be possible when there were enough resources with the government, he added, and referred to the tax collection measures in that regard.

The prime minister expressed the resolve to change the country’s system on the model pattern of State of Madina.

The Arabs, he added, adopted that model and succeeded. The system was based upon justice, social equity and compassion deeply rooted in the public welfare especially, and taking responsibility of the feeble and old people.

The establishment of rule of law was the other milestone of the model state in which all were treated equally, he added. The prime minister said those societies progressed, which had an effective rule of law for all. The West had adopted the concept of progressive taxation as given by the state. “I live and will die here, and have no business outside unlike those, who had laundered money abroad,” he said in an apparent reference to his political adversaries facing criminal cases.

Such elements, he said, would rejoice if the value of rupee tumbled down as they would gain in their assets abroad. The relatives of all those people, who had been facing criminal cases in the country, had also absconded abroad.

The prime minister said the government was keen to facilitate the business community and industrialists by introducing an improved online system.

He said the time had arrived for the nation to decide its future course and expressed his wonder that out of 220 million population, only 1.05 million were paying taxes. He said the government had set the target to collect Rs 5,500 billion taxes.

The small volume of taxes should be increased and everybody had to join the government as a team, he said and assured provision of all facilities to investors, including the ease of doing business. He noted that due to de-industrialization in the past, the country’s export had decreased and linked the provision of employment opportunities with growth of industry.

The prime minister said the government was taking stringent measures to control smuggling and in consultation with the relevant security agencies. Every kind of smuggling would be eliminated. Unless the menace of smuggling was checked, local industry could not progress, he added. The prime minister also called upon those groups of traders resisting the condition of insertion of CNIC (Computerized National Identity Cards) numbers in the transactions to think about the country’s development.

With their moves, certain elements were causing damages to the country, he added. The prime minister announced that the government had planned to create ‘a golden triangle’ linking Gujranwala, Gujrat and Sialkot, which would help small and medium industries, which were considered as the backbone of the national economy, to flourish.

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