ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday urged traders, businessmen and industrialists to work with the government for collection of more taxes.
Addressing an award-distribution ceremony of the Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce, the prime minister expressed the confidence that with collective efforts the nation would be able to overcome all its problems and challenges.
He regretted that the country had been burdened with a whopping debt of Rs30,000 billion in the last decade by the previous governments. About half the money collected in taxes each year was spent in repaying the country’s debts or interest on them.
Mr Khan said the country could no longer function under such conditions and the existing mindset. About 70 per cent of the total taxes collected came from 300 companies. Only a meagre amount was collected in the service and agriculture sectors.
Vows not to bow to pressure from certain groups of traders
“We have to change the mindset as the country can no longer be run according to outdated patterns. It is necessary to broaden the tax net,” he said, adding that in the past people did not trust the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) due to their bitter experiences.
He said that in 2013 a minister had admitted that there was corruption in FBR, but now the organisation was being reformed.
About the resistance being offered by certain groups of traders to new taxation measures, Mr Khan declared that he would not bow to pressure and give up his stance because doing so would amount to being disloyal to the country.
On the one hand, he said, people were demanding better schools and hospitals, but on the other, the country didn’t have the financial resources required. Under the given circumstances the facilities could not be provided to the people, he added.
Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2019