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Asad Umar laments calls ‘for not doing 40 years’ reforms in 40 days’

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar says the government is going after tax evaders as well as gleaning information about big bank account holders in renewed action.

“We’re being held accountable for not doing 40 years’ reforms within first 40 days. In past, smaller provinces were not given due attention. We also need to rectify those mistakes of past governments”, said the finance minister while speaking at the floor of the National Assembly today.

He informed that the previous government spent Rs 61 billion on development projects, adding that the incumbent government will spend more amount on those projects in comparison to the last year.

“The state has the muscle to deal with tax evaders, said, Umar, adding 169 non-filers have been issued notices to come within the tax net.

He went on to say that ‘economic policies of Zardari era were the worst. Following footsteps was PML-N that even robbed labors of their rightful money. Steel Mills is not operational for past 3 years, while PIA is also indebted,” he claimed.

The minister said: “We have to fix the mistakes of the past. This year we will spend more funds on development than what was spent in previous year.”

Mr. Umar said the permission to buy properties and cars for non-filers had been revoked. “File tax returns and be eligible to buy properties and cars,” he said.

Later, Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif asked the minister whether PML-N’s claim of ridding the country of load-shedding was wrong. He said the finance minister’s speech lacked truth.

“We had promised to end load-shedding countrywide and we successfully did that…is it right or wrong,” asked Shehbaz.

Speaker Asad Qaisar gave the floor to the finance minister to respond and he said: “If Kalat, Pishin, Quetta, DI Khan, Vehari, Larkana, Jacobabad… are not counted as Pakistani cities, then I can accept that country has been rid of load-shedding.”

He said the majority of the cities were still experiencing prolonged power outages. “Even my constituency in Islamabad is suffering from load-shedding,” he added.

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