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Money recovered from benami properties to be diverted to Ehasaas Programme: Imran Khan

06 July, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the reward money for the whistle-blowers helping the government authorities in detection and confiscation of benami properties will be increased from three to 10 percent.

Addressing the launch of National Poverty Graduation Initiative here, the prime minister said amendments will be made in the existing rules to increase incentives for the whistle-blowers. He announced that the money recovered from the sale of benami properties will be diverted to the Ehasaas Programme – the initiative of the government aimed at welfare of the poor segments of the society. He also expressed the confidence that the money generated after selling benami properties will exceed the national budget.

Responding to the criticism from Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister said during their tenures they had served their own interests and even failed to establish a single hospital where they could get their own medical treatment. He said during their governments, Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif paid 40 trips each to Dubai and London respectively while the country’s loans swelled from Rs 6,000 billion to Rs 30,000 billion during the last 10 years. “Those who were in power from the last 30 years, now say that they will go to London for medical checkup. They couldn’t even make a single hospital in their 30 years,” he said, adding that Shehbaz Sharif is scared of dying before being fully able to enjoy the looted wealth stashed abroad. The prime minister said Ehsaas program is driven from the model of Madina state that had given the concept of modern welfare state and now being pursued by all the developed countries in the West. He said the government has already increased the budgetary allocation for Ehsaas to Rs 200 billion that will further be enhanced in the future. The prime minister said the government will be launching different schemes under its flagship poverty alleviation programme ‘Ehsaas’ every month. Ehsaas was the first well-integrated anti-poverty programme in which all the ministries have their role, he added.

The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) is the leading implementing agency for the National Poverty Graduation Initiative, which is aimed at reducing the population’s dependence on government-led social safety nets and bring them into the mainstream of economic development and financial inclusion. The government in addition to providing funds for the initiative is partnering with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The total projected cost of the initiative is Rs 42.65 billion.

Imran Khan said around 60 percent of Pakistan’s population is below 30 years of age that can prove to be a great force if imparted proper skill training and given ample opportunities to excel. He said despite having meager resources, the State of Madina had provided a basis for the Muslims to rule for 700 years just because that the state had compassion towards its citizens which unfortunately had been lacking in Pakistan. He said the Naya Pakistan will bring the people out of poverty in real terms following the footsteps of the State of Madina by allowing the wealth creation.

Revealing the eye-opening statistics, the prime minister said around five percent of Pakistan’s population is infected with Hepatitis-C but the ruling families have been showing blithe lack of concern towards the situation. He said the Ehsaas programme will change the public mindset to create a realization at the state level though the people are already compassionate towards the poor and have the philanthropic nature.

The prime minister said he has taken the challenge of revamping the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to make the people pay taxes, who had been giving out their hard-earned money to philanthropy.

The launching ceremony, held at the PM Office, marked the distribution of cheques of varying amounts of interest-free loans to help the poor establish, or uplift their small scale businesses to support their living. The ceremony coincided with 391 similar cheque distribution events held across the country where 86,151 interest-free loans worth Rs 3.02 billion were given out to the deserving persons.

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