PM urges business community to consider payment of taxes as national obligation

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 20 (APP):Urging business community to consider the payment of taxes as their national obligation, Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said the government was firm to uplift the masses and check poverty through wealth creation, tax collection and industrialization.

Addressing at the distribution of Rs30 billion refund cheques of sales and income tax among prominent exporters here at the Prime Minister Office, he remarked that running a country without tax collection would have been possible only in fairy tales but not in reality.

The event was aimed at giving priority to the demands of business community and to create a taxpayer friendly environment for improvement of cash flow for taxpayers in general and for export-oriented sector in particular.

The prime minister said a country with weak tax collection system could not make progress economically.

He lauded Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi for taking effective steps for improved tax collection that registered an upward trend.

Imran Khan mentioned that US$19 billion of current account deficit was the biggest challenge at the time his government came in power last year, however, said the efforts of economic team resulted in stabilization of economy.

He said the country for the first time in four years had witnessed current account surplus besides the restoration of public confidence in the stock market and the volumes of exports had increased.

The prime minister said previous short-term policies and adhocism for political gains were the main reasons behind instability of economy.

He said his government was inspired by China’s model of economic progress which was based on long-term policies and human development.

He said the country had rich gold and copper reserves, however the disaster of corruption played havoc incurring billions of losses to national exchequer.

In Karkay case, he said the government had resolved Rs170 billion dispute with the support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, adding efforts were also afoot to work out the Rs900 billion damages imposed on the country in Reko Diq case.

Referring to the economic hardships his government faced after coming into power, the prime minister hailed the financial support extended by the friendly countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, China and Qatar that helped the country to cope with the challenge of current account deficit.

He, however, added that as financial loans and aids were not considered good for the dignity of a country, the government was striving to strengthen the country’s economy by promoting tax culture and industrialization.

Earlier, the prime minister gave away the cheques of tax refund to the representatives of country’s top exporters and companies including Engro Fertilizers, Pakarab Fertilizers, Fatima Fertilizers, Sui Southern Gas Company, Nishat Mills, Pakgen Power Limited, Masood Textile Mills and Liberty Mills.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Hafeez Sheikh in his remarks on the occasion said with improvement economic indicators including the exchange rate, current account deficit, fiscal deficit, foreign direct investment and stock market, the country had achieved economic stability.

He said despite the financial constraints, the government as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan was trying to create ease for traders and exporters including the allocation of Rs300 billion for the provision of soft loans to export-oriented industries besides subsidy on gas and electricity tariffs.

Hafeez Sheikh said the government’s policy was to implement a zero-tax regime for exporters, adding today’s event for distribution of Rs30 billion cheques of tax refunds among top exporters also reflected the government’s commitment to facilitate the business community.