Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei/IANS).
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday warned of legal action against those who do not declare their undisclosed assets by June 30, as the cash-strapped government ramps up efforts to fix the country's economy.
Addressing the nation ahead of the federal budget for fiscal year 2019-20 to be announced Tuesday, Khan said. "We will need to change ourselves if we want to become a great country."
"I am appealing to all of you to take part in the Asset Declaration Scheme that we have brought because if we don't pay taxes, we will not be able to raise our country up," Khan said.
The premier said that people have until June 30 to declare their benami assets, benami bank accounts and money that was kept abroad.
Benami is a term used for a transaction, contract, or property that is made or held under a name that is fictitious or is that of a third party who holds as ostensible owner for the principal or beneficial owner.
"After June 30, you will not get this opportunity," he said.
"Our agencies have information about who has benami accounts and benami properties," the premier said.
"This was never available to us before therefore take advantage of this scheme. Give Pakistan the benefit. Fix your children's future. [Give us] the chance that we get this country to stand on its own two feet and take people out of poverty," he said.
"My Pakistanis, in the past ten years Pakistan's debt went from Rs 6,000 billion to Rs 30,000 billion," he said.
Khan said that the damage that this had caused to the country was that the annual tax collected was approximately Rs 4,000 billion, half of which went towards repaying loans "they" had taken.
"This country cannot cover its expenses on the money that is left behind," he added.
Pakistan recently reached a preliminary agreement with the IMF for a USD 6 billion bailout.
"Pakistan is the country that unfortunately gives the least tax in the world but is among the few countries that give the most charity."
"This is the country that has [the] capability and if passion comes in, we can at the very least gather Rs10,000 billion every year," the premier said.
In May, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had announced its first tax amnesty scheme Asset Declaration Scheme for whitening of undisclosed expenditures, sales and assets, including foreign assets, at nominal tax rates.
The scheme came into effect through a presidential ordinance, which will offer a period of 45 days to people for declaration of their undeclared assets, expenditures, and sales along with payment of taxes until June 30 this year.
The scheme, approved by the federal Cabinet during a meeting presided over by the premier, has five main pillars scope, default surcharge, exclusions, tax rates and conditions.
Unlike the past schemes, no revenue realisation projection was made on the plea that it is meant for allowing the grey economy's inclusion in the tax net, Dawn newspaper said.
The government plans to present an austerity-oriented budget with no increase in the salaries of army officials of higher ranks.
This is the second time that the premier has appealed to the people to declare their benami assets and bank accounts under the government's Assets Declaration Scheme by June 30.