Tax amnesty scheme approval deferred again for further deliberations by cabinet

Updated April 17, 2019


Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan
Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan

The federal cabinet on Wednesday again deferred the approval of the much-awaited tax amnesty scheme because some of its provisions require "further fine-tuning", Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had convened a special meeting of the cabinet today after some of the ministers opposed the amnesty plan, expressed their reservations and sought further clarification at Tuesday's cabinet meeting.

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Chaudhry tweeted that the cabinet today deliberated on all aspects of the proposed Assets Declaration and Amnesty Scheme, 2019, and that all options "came under threadbare discussion".

"It is decided that some provisions [of the scheme] need further fine-tuning," the minister said, adding that the matter would be taken up again at the next cabinet meeting.

Insider sources had told Dawn on Tuesday that some cabinet members objected to the 15 per cent tax rate proposed under the scheme and some raised questions about its effectiveness.

Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said he wanted to know the difference between the proposed scheme and the similar ones which had been launched by the previous government, according to the sources privy to the details of yesterday's cabinet meeting.

Expressing his reservation over the 15pc rate, Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda called for its reduction to facilitate taxpayers, the sources said.

They said Information Minister Chaudhry was of the opinion that there was a need for reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Pakistan Customs department before launching an amnesty scheme.

According to the sources, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak also opposed the idea, saying the scheme would give no benefit to the government as well as to the people because all such previous schemes had remained useless.