ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday, while regretting gnawing chasm between the toiling masses and the elite club, called for according the highest regard to regular tax-payers who were contributing for the country’s development.

He said majority of the tax amount was collected through indirect taxes, levied on things affecting the common man, which in his view was ‘a great injustice’.

Addressing an awards distribution ceremony among the top tax-payers as chief guest, he said the government would ensure that their taxes would not be spent on the extravagance of the ruling elite.

He said through reforms in the relevant departments, the government could collect about Rs 8,000 billion in taxes.

The Prime Minister noted that those persons who contributed for the country’s development with their taxes, required a ‘VIP’ treatment. Terming change in the mindset to pay taxes as vital for getting out of the financial woes, he warned if such a mindset was not changed, the country’s situation would become murkier in future.

He referred to the deficit faced by the gas companies and said the banks were not ready to extend further loans to these entities, so the price of utility had to be increased. He called for collective contributions to ward off difficulties for the general public.

The Prime Minister expressed his dismay that out of 200 million population, only 1.7 million were the tax-payers and such amount could not bear the burden of the whole population. Moreover, only 72,000 people had declared their earning of Rs 2 lakh per month.

Appreciating the role of tax-payers, he said in the Scandinavian countries rich people contributed fifty percent in their GDP with regular payment of taxes. They knew it very well that their tax money would be spent judiciously and trickle down to the lower strata of society without ending on the rulers, he added.

The Prime Minister said the Riasat-e-Madinah had laid down the concept of equitable distribution of wealth among the people. He said the progressive tax system adopted by the European countries was based upon this system.

 

Steps to efface money laundering practices

 

Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that money laundering posed a serious threat to the country which called for drastic measures.

He also directed all the stakeholders to double their efforts in countering the money laundering practices by ensuring that criminals indulged in such practices should not go scot-free.

The Prime Minister was chairing a high-level meeting to review progress on the efforts being made to curb money laundering, a PM Office Media Wing press release said.

Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, Special Assistant to PM on Accountability Shehzad Akber, Director General ISI Lt Gen Syed Asim Munir Ahmed Shah, Secretary Interior, Chairmen Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Director General Anti Narcotics Force (ANF), home secretaries and other senior officers attended the meeting.

The Prime Minister observed that personal coffers were filled abroad through illegal practice of money laundering, which had not only seriously harmed the country, but also sent the nation into quagmire of debts. The people involved in money laundering did not deserve any concession, he added.

The secretary interior briefed the Prime Minister about the progress on the steps taken so far to check money laundering. He also briefed about the administrative and legislative steps being taken specifically regarding money laundering.

Pak-Turk Draft Strategic Economic Framework

With the approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan of the draft strategic economic framework between Pakistan and Turkey the relations between the two brotherly Islamic states would be transformed into strong economic ties.

In a high-level meeting held here on Wednesday, the premier gave approval in principle to the draft Strategic Economic Framework between Pakistan and Turkey.

The PM directed for early finalisation of the framework aiming at transforming the bilateral relations between the two countries into a broader growing strategic economic relationship.

He directed relevant ministries to vigorously pursue this framework and put in place strong institutional arrangements for its implementation, once finalised.

The meeting was attended by relevant federal ministers and secretaries including Finance, Information and Broadcasting, IPC, Health, Commerce, Energy, Chairman BOI and others.

The Secretary EAD gave a detailed briefing on the contents and contours of the proposed framework. It was informed that during the Prime Minister’s visit to Turkey in the first week of January this year, the top leadership of the two sides had agreed to transform the bilateral relationship into a long-term strategic trade, investment and economic relationship based on the principles of reciprocity and fairness.

On his return from Turkey, the Prime Minister constituted a 10-member ministerial committee headed by the Finance Minister, Asad Umar to finalise the proposed framework. Subsequently, two meetings of this Ministerial Committee were chaired by the Finance Minister and ideas and proposals were received from the 16 relevant ministries of the federal government. After due consideration and examination, proposals were identified, evaluated and incorporated into a wholesome draft strategic economic framework.

The Finance Minister briefed the meeting that it is an integrated framework that has been built keeping in view the best interest of Pakistan, capitalising on mutual complementarities and key advantages of the two economies, the framework so finalised will serve as the overarching strategic policy framework integrating all facets of existing bilateral economic cooperation into a single platform.

The Economic Framework seeks to build a strategic economic framework with brotherly country Turkey in a globally evolving geo strategic environment and through this instrument tangible measurable results will be pursued. It will encompass broader areas of bilateral cooperation like trade, textiles, investment, industries and production, energy, economy/banking and finance, aviation, agriculture, social sectors and tourism.

Pakistan through this framework is not looking for aid but trade, investment and technology for enhancing industrial productivity of its economy. There are strong mutual complementarities between the two economies. While on one hand Pakistan can benefit from modern industrial base and technological advancement specifically in auto sector, steel sector, value added textiles and tourism on the other hand Pakistan can meet Turkish economy’s requirements such as agricultural products, raw materials, textile materials etc. The joint ventures between Turkey and Pakistan in multiple sectors including value added textile and leather industry can produce quality products for export to European Union and East Asian markets.

After approval by the Prime Minister in principle, the government of Pakistan is now sharing this draft framework with the Turkish side for their review and consideration before the same is finalised between the two countries in the coming weeks.