Country’s progress impossible without accountability of corrupt: PM Imran


KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the country couldn’t progress until all the corrupt elements wouldn’t be brought to justice.
Talking to media at Governor House in Sindh after meeting members of the business community, he said that Rs10 to 12 billion were being laundered every year from the country, adding that corruption could not be eliminated from the country until the corrupt are handed sentences.
Imran Khan said that the opposition had been talking about overthrowing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government from the day first, adding that the opposition didn’t even let the parliament proceedings go smoothly, adding that they [opposition] didn’t let him speak on the first day.
He said: “They have been blackmailing from the very first day of the government and wanted to spread chaos by blaming the government for the price hike. Their only aim is to listen three words from my mouth that is NRO but I will never say these three words as I am answerable to almighty Allah.”
The prime minister said the country was passing through hard times, because of the two previous NROs and the subsequent debt of Rs30trillion.
“Why we should not talk of the past corruption and plunder of the previous rulers,” he said, adding keeping silence on their misdeeds would amount to treason with the country.
The prime minister said the country had immense potential to move ahead on the path of progress and prosperity, and appealed to the people to pay taxes for a strengthened economy.
The country could not move ahead if the people and traders were reluctant to pay taxes, he said and maintained that only one per cent out of the total 220 million population were paying taxes.
He said fewer people in the country were overburdened with the taxes as the industry was paying 70 per cent taxes alone. The government could not go on printing currency as it would escalate price hike, he added and cautioned that if the people did not realize their responsibility to pay taxes, the country could run into hyper-inflation.
“There is dire need to change the mindset for paying taxes,” he emphasized.
The prime minister said that both former president Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo Nawaz Sharif have made cases against each other in 1990s, adding that they are facing cases made by them.
“They are afraid because every day new things emerge against them,” the prime minister said and added the PTI government has not made a single case against them.
Earlier, the premier met people belonging to business community in Karachi and discussed economic system in the country. The business community suggested several steps to control inflation and to reduce sales tax to 5% from 17%.
PM Imran Khan on the occasion assured to solve the problems of business community and said businesses would not run by old methods now. PM denied ending the condition of ID card for starting of new business.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar, Adviser on Commerce Razak Dawood and Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Adviser on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain, Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi, Chairman Board of Investment Syed Zubair Haider Gilani and Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir were also present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister said that the basic aim of his visit to Karachi is to address the problems faced by the business community. For this purpose, his entire economic team is also accompanying him.
He was talking to a delegation comprising representatives of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Automotive Parts Association.
During the meeting, the traders presented him recommendations over reforms in tax system, facilities in business and inflation. The premier assured them to resolve their issues by providing them new opportunities. Our first priority is to eliminate poverty and to speed up the economic process, he added.
Imran Khan said that we need assistance of traders to improve financial status of the country. The PM has also been scheduled to hold consultative meeting with party leaders and members of provincial assembly on the ongoing political situation in the country.
Meanwhile, Talking to various delegations representing agro-food, fisheries and
pharma sectors in Karachi, Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated that government was committed boosting the agriculture and fisheries sectors.
He said the government was working over to resolve the issues of all sectors.
PM Khan said an agreement has been signed with China to promote fisheries industry in the country by utilising latest methods.
On the hand, a delegation of paint, steel and cement industries were also called on the premier at Governor House.
Talking to media at Governor House Karachi PM Khan said dismissed the possibility of imposing governor rule in Sindh province.
He said no one has talked about imposing governor rule in Sindh and nor it will happen in future.
The PM said that opposition parties wanted to save their corruption and looted money on the name of democracy. He said that all cases against Former President Asif Ali Zardari and deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were made by each other during their regimes.
Imran Khan said “Hudaibiya Paper Mills case was made by the PPP regime against Nawaz Sharif. Similarly, the Surrey Palace case against Asif Zardari was made by the PML-N government.”
“Asif Zardari as a president toured 40 times for UAE. Nawaz Sharif had spent Rs64 million on foreign tours,” added PM.
Meanwhile, he said the government is determined to develop industry in order to strengthen the national economy.
He said government will act as a partner of business community to facilitate it in doing business.
He said we are taking full steps to increase national income in cooperation with business community.
The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that business community has assured their full cooperation to the government in this regard.
He said the government inherited a challenging economy after assuming power and steps have been taken to improve its condition.
Imran Khan said the expenses of federal government have been reduced through austerity and for the first time Pakistan army has also brought down its expenditures.
He said government is undertaking economic reforms to strengthen the economy and reforms are being introduced in FBR to increase the performance of tax machinery.
He expressed the hope that measures to improve tax system will result in meeting the tax collection target of 5550 billion rupees set in budget 2019-20.
The Prime Minister said the country cannot move forward unless the attitude towards tax paying is not changed.
He appealed the nation to change its mindset regarding its contribution to national economy.
Imran Khan said strict steps are also being taken to stop money laundering and corruption. – NNI