Asset declaration scheme a means to boost revenues: Shabbar Zaidi
In the midst of Pakistan entering another International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout approval and the re-introduction of the controversial Amnesty scheme program, the chairman of Federal Board of Revenue, Shabbar Zaidi opined in the favor of current decisions undertaken to stabilize country’s dwindling economy.
Talking exclusively to ARY in it’s current affairs show, ‘Off The Record’ the chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Shabbar Zaidi said that the amnesty scheme should be looked upon as a means for asset declaration.
Clarifying his stance the chairman FBR continued, “the Undeclared Pakistan Assets Tax Act 2017 is a law.”
“People are ignoring that act, the amnesty scheme which came forward in 2018 did not incorporate the undeclared assets act,” continued Zaidi.
Undeclared Pakistan Assets Tax Act 2017 provides an opportunity to local Pakistani citizens to get their undisclosed local assets legalized. The assets include motor vehicles and immovable properties, income and expenditure on payment of investment tax.
“Non-declaration is a crime and a law is in place since 2017, said Zaidi.”
The amnesty scheme has the facility for citizens to legalize their ‘benami’ accounts and properties before the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 2017, is enforced.
“The purpose of this law’s existence is to legalize and declare the assets which had been undeclared and carried no visible ownership in the past,” told Zaidi.
“The benami act of 2017 was never acted upon, we are the first ones to act upon it in 2019.”
Before the existence of the benami act 2017, it was lawful and legal to hold an undeclared asset with no ownership.
The chairman said: “Our main objective is to document the economy, if an asset is not declared or visibly owned by you but yet you reap it’s reward, that is known as a ‘benami’ asset, in the same vain benami bank accounts also exist.”
When Zaidi was questioned about a possible seizure of the assets related to or held as benami, the chairman FBR retorted, “should I damage the economy further by seizing these assets?”
“The wise thing to do is, making the undeclared, declared and putting them in the tax net.”
Taking about the controversial move of opting to take a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) despite reservations from many segments of society and members of the National Assembly, Zaidi said: “IMF grants loans at the cheapest rates. The current account deficit was in desperate need of a financial injection.”
Answering questions about the impending price hikes and additional taxes on commodities, the chairman FBR said that the ‘middle man’ is responsible for increased prices.
“The middle man reaps benefits after putting himself between the farmer and the consumer, these middle men are also not a part of the tax net and are also a major burden on Pakistan’s economic woes and price hikes,” confessed Zaidi.
Zaidi expressed resolve to bring the ‘middle man’ in the tax net as well.