It was expected of PTI to present mini-budget, reflecting its declared economic objectives, and replace unethical presentation of Annual Budget by outgoing PML(N) government, who had hardly one month to go before completion of tenure. However announcement by PM Imran Khan’s Finance Minister to reverse rare good decision by PML(N) government to place restriction on non-filers for buying land/ houses and new cars in their name is very controversial and will boost black economy. 

PTI had over the years promised to take steps to widen next net by levying direct taxes on those who earn above a threshold, own assets but have never filed tax returns. Unfortunately decision by PTI to lift restrictions on non-filers will encourage tax evasion and boost black economy and powerful Land Mafia and their collaborators amongst paid civil/uniformed public office holders. The reason given by FM Asad of facilitating overseas Pakistan does not make sense.  

In fact Overseas Pakistanis holding NICOP could have been facilitated by asking them to remit in foreign exchange their savings through Pakistani banks regulated by State Bank or National Bank at prevailing open market exchange rate, for buying property in Pakistan or cars registered in their name for use by their next of kin living here. This could have helped boost depleting Foreign Exchange Reserve. To ensure that such remittances are expeditiously credited to account of Overseas Pakistanis the red tape should have been curtailed through administrative measures. Import of luxury items must be banned for current financial year. 

PTI government must focus its energies to forcefully recover money from loan defaulters in Pakistan, because recovering money stashed abroad in foreign bank accounts is a long and tedious process, which we should continue to pursue. 

ALI MALIK TARIQ,  

Lahore, September 19.