Says if people don't pay taxes, country can't move forward
File photo: PM House Prime Minister Imran Khan urged on Thursday the masses to play their role in steering the country out of foreign debts, the Radio Pakistan reported. The prime minister was speaking on PTV's special transmission on the government's asset declaration scheme through video conferencing. He said that in colonial times, people would not trust the government with paying taxes. "When Pakistan came into existence, people inherited this mentality." PM Khan said that in advanced countries, the money collected through taxes is spent on the welfare of people, which is why the public trusts the government. "We have to give this confidence to people in Pakistan too, so that they willingly pay their due taxes," he said. The prime minister said the people did not have faith in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as they think their tax money will be wasted. He regretted that the tax culture could not flourish during the reign of former governments. PM Khan said Pakistan today stood at crossroads. "It means if people do not pay their taxes, the country cannot move forward," he said. The prime minister said Pakistanis have the capacity to pay Rs8,000 billion in taxes yearly. He said the people of Pakistan were generous as they would pay billions of rupees in charity and zakat every year. "They can play their role to take the country out of a debt trap," PM Khan said. Replying to a question, he said a programme would be brought in the next 48 hours to facilitate the individuals, who availed the amnesty scheme in the deadline. After the budget is passed, PM Khan said, he would sit with FBR chief Shabbar Zaidi to cleanse the tax collection agency of corrupt individuals. Information technology will be used in tax collection to minimise the human role. He said a mechanism will be evolved to provide tax refunds to the business community in order to facilitate them. "The business community will be given an all-out help in order to enable them to make money and pay taxes to the government." Khan further said his government would help investors create wealth in order to increase employment opportunities for the youth. He once again assured that no tax authority would harass the individuals who became filers. Blaming corruption for the economic woes of the country, the prime minister said that no country in the world could progress and prosper if its ruling elite were dishonest. He said corruption leads to inflation and unemployment. A small number of tax payers could not lift the burden of 220 million people, he insisted, describing stunted growth, illiteracy and poverty as the main reasons for lower tax collection by the government. He again urged people to change their mindset and think of the welfare of their fellow countrymen. He said nothing was impossible in the world and the nation would come out of the economic crisis. Follow SAMAA English on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.