ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the PM on finance has announced introducing Asset Declaration Ordinance 2019 or tax amnesty scheme before May 21.
“Four per cent is the tax on legalising Benami assets held inside the country, while those held outside the country, the rate is 6%,” said Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh during a meeting of the federal ministers and members of parliament at the PM Office on Monday. The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The prime minister said, “I am aware of the rising inflation. Tough decisions will prove beneficial for the future. The burden of new taxes will not be imposed on the poor segment.”
PM Imran said, “In the fields of electricity and gas, a subsidy of Rs216 billion will be provided, while Rs180 billion has been allocated for the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).”
According to sources, members of parliament expressed reservations over the increase in the prices of electricity and gas.
The finance adviser said no burden would be placed on consumers using under 300 units. “About 75% of the consumers will not be affected by the new taxes, while Rs180 billion has been allocated for the BISP to assist the poor families.”
PM Imran said subsidies being provided to white elephant institutions will be withdrawn. “We are facilitating investors in order to bring down the current account deficit. The economic wheel will start spinning quite effectively with foreign direct investment.”
The prime minister announced not to provide supplementary grants and SROs without the approval of parliament.
The finance adviser informed the meeting that the tax amnesty scheme will be launched before May 21. “This will be the final chance for availing the tax amnesty scheme,” he said, warning that after expiry of the scheme, the federal and the provincial governments would initiate a crackdown.
To a question whether IMF would determine the dollar’s value and interest rate, the adviser said that discretion “lies with the State Bank and not the IMF”.
Shaikh said Rs800 billion would be allocated for the development funds in the next budget.
Member of the National Assembly Mujahid Khan said, “Already inflation is sky-high … with the new taxes, the poor will get crushed.”
The prime minister replied, “We care for the poor. We are making sincere efforts to not put the burden of new taxes on the poor. The government needs your trust in these testing times.”
According to a statement released by the PM Office, members of parliament were briefed over the government policies regarding economic stability.
The prime minister took the parliamentarians into confidence regarding the budget, advising them to ensure maximum relief for the citizens of their respective constituencies during the holy month of Ramazan.
The PM also took the members of parliament into confidence over the deals made with IMF.
The PM also briefed the MNAs and senators over the law pertaining to declaration of assets. “The government is taking effective measures to put right the economic direction of the country. National and people’s interests are dearer than political interests. The government will protect national interest and the rights of the people at all costs. The promise for reforms made by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will be fulfilled,” he said.
Members of parliament assured the premier of their full support.
(This news/article originally appeared in The Express Tribune on May 14th, 2019)