ISLAMABAD: May 14 - Advisor to PM on Finance, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue, Syed M Shabbar Zaidi and Minister of State for Revenue, Barrister Hammad Azhar addressing a joint press conference at FBR. APP

ISLAMABAD, May 14 (APP):The government Tuesday announced Asset Declaration Scheme, providing one more opportunity to all Pakistani citizens to declare and legalize undisclosed assets inside and outside the country by paying just four percent taxes on all assets other than real estate.
The scheme would be applicable till June 30, and all Pakistan citizens, other than those holding public offices or their dependents, would be able to take benefit from it, Advisor to Prime Minister Finance, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said at a press conference while announcing the scheme after its formal approval by the federal cabinet.
The advisor was accompanied by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, State Minister for Revenues, Hammad Azhar and Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi.
The advisor said basic purpose of the scheme was not to generate revenue but to document economy and make the dead assets functional to promote economy.
He said the philosophy behind the scheme was to encourage businessmen to participate in the legal economy, adding it did not intend to intimidate people.
He said efforts have been made to make the scheme easy in understanding as well as implementing.
He said all assets were included in the scheme inside or outside Pakistan. All assets other than real estate, would have to pay four percent to get these legalized.
In case of real estate, it would be evaluated at 1.5 on FBR value, to bring it to market value he said, citing an example that if the FBR value of any property was Rs1 million, it would be charged at the value of Rs1.5 million.
He said the Pakistanis abroad could also pay four percent to legalize their undisclosed assets, however added that in terms of cash, they would have to deposit their money in Pakistani banks (in local or foreign currency), otherwise they would have to pay 6 percent to legalize their assets.
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said every Pakistani national was eligible to take benefit from this scheme however, the scheme would not be applicable to the public office holders and their dependents.
Inviting all such people who had their undeclared assets to take benefit from this scheme, the Advisor said this was the last chance as the government had already imposed the Benami Law under which all such benami properties would be confiscated by the government.
Replying to a question, Hafeez Shaikh said talks between Pakistan and International Monetary Fund (IMF) continued for around 7-8 months and nothing special was added in the agreement after he joined the office.
“The IMF is an international institution which primarily focuses on bringing the financially weak countries out of financial crisis and the conditions set by the Fund for Pakistan are in its own interest,” he said adding whether it was the condition of shrinking trade deficit, or reducing expenditures and increasing revenues, or selling out the bleeding State Own Entities, all such conditions were aimed at stabilizing the country’s economy.
Replying to a question whether this would be the last programme with IMF, the Advisor said in the past, the governments could not fulfill the conditions of IMF which resulted in instability of the economy, but this time the government was committed to abide by all the conditions and hoped that the country would not need to go for another programme.
He said the electricity price would be increased for only those consumers who use 300 and above units per month, while the rest of 75% consumers would not be affected by the power tariff raises.
He informed that in the upcoming budget the government was raising the budget for the downtrodden segment of the society and allocating Rs 180 billion compared to Rs 100 billion in the previous year.
The Advisor said under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2019-20, the government would allocate Rs 550-600 billion while in the next year this budget would be increased to over Rs 700 billion which would help generating more new jobs.
He said the revenue performance had not been so good in the past but now the government was taking some basic measures which would help taking the revenue level to record high in coming years.
Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar said there was a lot of difference between the current and previous amnesty schemes as for the first time there was a condition for all asset declarer to become tax filer besides giving option to all such people to revise their balance sheet in their tax returns.
Chairman FBR Syed Shabbar Zaidi said government of Pakistan had clear business information about the Pakistanis living abroad and at present it possess information about 150,000 accounts in 28 countries against which the government had started taking action.
He also urged the media to become partner in this scheme and play role in making this scheme a big success.