ISLAMABAD, Jan 20 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday urged the traders to support the government in its endeavour to widen the tax net, terming the taxation a key to revive the national economy and dignity in the comity of nations.

Addressing the ceremony here after an agreement reached between the government and the small traders over the mechanism to register the businesses for taxation, the prime minister said the government was resolved to bring ease of doing business by removing all the official and systemic impediments.

Advisor on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant to PM on Information Dr Fidous Ashiq Awan, Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Shabbar Zaidi, Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Gilani and traders’ representatives from across the country attended the event.

Under the agreement, committees had been formed at district and sub-district levels comprising two members from the traders community and one from the government, which would assist the registration of small traders for their onward inclusion in the tax system and dispute resolution.

The prime minister said the traders had generously supported his mission of building the cancer hospital but they could not contribute to the revenue generation with that spirit just because of the complex taxation system and the government’s inability to spend the tax money on public welfare.

He said the businessmen had always complained about the corrupt tax machinery, which also harassed them once they were registered in the tax net.

He lamented the practice by previous rulers of spending the tax money to support their luxurious lifestyle which led to the loss of people’s trust in the tax system.

Contrarily, he said, the incumbent government had slashed the PM House’s expenditures by Rs 300 to 350 million and those of the PM Office by Rs 350 million. The Federal Government’s expenses had also been reduced by Rs 40 billion, besides the freezing of budget by the Pakistan Army to support the national economy.

The prime minister said he supported his household expenditures on his own salary and had set up no camp office. The foreign visits made by him incurred around 10 times lesser expenses than those by the previous rulers. Even his visit to Davos starting Tuesday would also cost ten times lesser than the ones by the prime ministers in the past.

It was just to show the realization that the country was pervaded by the poverty and it was inevitable to develop the tax culture, he added.

He said Pakistanis were one of the least tax paying nations and the country would not progress unless the people, including the business community, realized the fact.

He said the government had allocated Rs 190 billion for its anti-poverty Ehsaas programme, but it still required more tax revenue to run schools and hospitals, and provide drinking water to the people and skill training to the youth.

He said the countries bearing the debts burden could never enjoy dignity and even could not formulate an independent foreign policy. He recalled that the previous governments had been fighting the alien wars just for the sake of money and in the process made the country face far greater loss than the aid received.

He reiterated his government’s plan of industrialization by removing all obstacles in the business, though the country had already jumped by 28 points in the international ranking for ease of doing business.

He said the government had the realization of public suffering owing to the inflation and was constantly deliberating the measures to control it. It had abolished Rs 400 of GIDC on each fertilizer bag that would also help reduce the prices of eatables, he added.

Moreover, he said, the government had also abolished the licensing of 102 small businesses in order to let them flourish.

The prime minister told the gathering that the nations were destined to face tough times but they sailed through with the public support.

Lauding the efforts of his economic team, he urged the traders to own their government and resolved to put in all-out efforts for the resolution of their issues.