At a time when Pakistan is grappling with overcoming severe financial crises, the country's Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday urged his countrymen to declare their assets and pay off taxes by June 30. In a televised message to the nation on Monday morning, Khan urged the countrymen to pay taxes as it is their national duty and asked them to take benefit of the 'last' Asset Declaration Scheme launched by the government.
"In the last ten years, Pakistan's debt went from Rs 6,000 crore to 30,000 crore. We need some urgent steps to bring the country out of this crisis. 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 while addressing the nation, a day ahead of the national budget.
Last month, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had announced a new tax amnesty scheme to offer non-tax filers an opportunity to come clean until June 30. Notably, the previous PML-N government announced four such schemes to different groups that fetched around Rs 121 billion and brought only 80,000 people into the tax net. However, the Imran Khan-led government has said that this amnesty scheme is "different" from the previous one.
Urging nation to pay taxes, Imran Khan said,
"This is the country that has the capability and if passion comes in, we can at the very least gather Rs 10,000 billion every year."
The PTI government will be presenting its first budget for the fiscal year 2019-20 in the National Assembly on Tuesday. Khan's Advisor on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Hafeez Shaikh, will be presenting it. The government on Sunday announced that it is planning to present an austerity-oriented budget providing a 'slight' relief to middle and low-grade government employees, including military personnel, with no increase in the salaries of army officials of higher ranks. Last month, the Pakistan government had reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package of USD 6 billion. Besides the assistance by IMF, Pakistan will receive additional funds worth nearly USD 2-3 billion from institutions like the Asian Development Bank and World Bank.