ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to focus on recovery from the big tax evaders and bring the non-filers into the tax net.
He was chairing a meeting over reforms in the FBR here at the Prime Minister Office. Minister for Finance Asad Umar, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar, FBR Chairman Jahanzaib Khan and other high officials attended the meeting, a press release said. The FBR Chairman briefed the Prime Minister about the progress on the steps taken to detect offshore assets and properties of Pakistani citizens and the recovery of taxable amount under the country’s laws.
Addressing the meeting, the Prime Minister said the reforms in FBR were a part of reforms agenda of the government. He regretted that the previous governments had altogether ignored removal of weaknesses in the tax system and increase in the tax base. A country where 30 percent of its budget was being spent on payment of interest on loans, ignoring loopholes in the present tax system was a criminal negligence, he added.
He observed that in the past, due to harassment caused to public and especially to the business community, complicated system of tax recovery, corruption and spending of tax money on the lavish lifestyle of the rulers, the ordinary citizens had lost their trust in the system and the FBR. He stressed upon restoration of such trust.
About Benami properties, the Prime Minister directed for early completion of formulation of rules under the relevant legal provisions.
The Prime Minister was briefed that under the agreements with different countries and other channels of information, details about offshore assets and properties were being received.
After detailed evaluation of such information, notices were served upon a very large number of people about the taxable amount recovery as per laws.
The Offshore Taxation Commission rates was also established in the six big cities of the country, including Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta and Multan for probing the offshore assets cases and their early completion, the FBR Chairman said. He said under the laws, taxes would be levied upon those citizens living in Pakistan and who owned offshore assets and properties abroad.
Those taxes would not be applicable upon those expatriates who were permanently living abroad, he added. The Prime Minister directed for strengthening of commission rates for taking the offshore cases to their logical conclusions.
The Prime Minister was also briefed in detail about the measures taken for bringing the non-filers and big tax evaders under the tax net.
The Prime Minister was also briefed about the steps taken for reorganization of FBR on the latest lines, meeting its requirements, ending of corruption, capacity building of its officials, bringing tax system on modern lines, regular review of staff performance, introduction of performance management system based upon feedback from the tax payers, making easier payment of taxes and the reforms in the overall culture of the Bureau.
The Prime Minister was told that work on the reorganization of the Bureau would kick-start in the next few weeks. Its objective would be to encourage and facilitate the tax payers instead creating fears for them. It would help strengthen the national economy.
For the public facilitation, new website would be launched, besides a facilitation desk was being established. For improvement in performance and ensuring transparency, internal audit section was being separated from the FBR, it was told.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has stated that the government will provide all out assistance to rehabilitate the textile sector.
He was chairing a meeting on issues relating to textile sector in Islamabad on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister emphasized on giving special attention to skill development for wealth creation and job opportunities that will have a positive impact on welfare and stability of the national economy.
He said the youth should be provided skill based training while keeping in view the demands of national and international markets.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister was briefed about a proposed program to teach various skills to 120,000 youth in next five years.
The meeting was also informed of various issues relating to Lahore Garments City, Karachi Garments City and Pakistan Textile City Limited.
Meanwhile, Senior Representative Pepsi USA Mehmood Khan called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood was also present in the meeting.
They exchanged views on matters of mutual interest during the meeting.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan wants all clubs and other public entertainment facility owners to remove discriminatory signboards that bar domestic staff from entering certain areas as part of the government’s efforts to improve the human rights situation in the country.
The premier gave this order while chairing a high level meeting on the GSP Plus status of Pakistan.
Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Attorney-General Anwar Mansoor Khan and senior officials attended the meeting.
Progress made towards addressing human rights issues in the country was discussed.
The PM directed that steps be taken to ensure complete elimination of bonded labour from all parts of the country. He also directed immediate removal of all kinds of discriminatory signboards in clubs, such as the Islamabad Club, Gymkhana and other public places that restrict free movement of maids, ayas and domestic servants.
Imran Khan directed the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to conduct a countrywide survey on child labour and formulate a comprehensive strategy to extricate such children from poverty and take measures for their education.
PM Khan was briefed that legislation is under way to criminalise enforced disappearances and the process of introducing necessary amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code will be completed soon.
The meeting was also briefed on the progress made towards anti-torture, combating domestic violence and other human rights related issues.
“Ensuring and safeguarding human rights is a major plank of our religion and enshrined in our Constitution,” said the premier. “The government is firmly committed to protecting human rights and promotion of rights of minorities and marginalised sections of society.” – Agencies