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Khawaja Asif for getting rid of sick organizations, stopping tax evasion

ISLAMABAD, JUN 14 (DNA) — Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Wednesday stressed the need for getting rid of sick organizations and taking effective measures to stop the billions of rupees tax evasion, causing a constant dent to the national economy.

Participating in the National Assembly debate for the budget 2023-24, he said giving the life-support and keep-pumping the financial resources to the deadwoods was the ‘crime against the state,’ being committed since long.

He said the incumbent government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, tried to give ‘beyond the possibility’ relief to the common man despite the severe financial challenges, and in his view it remained successful to some extent.

The minister highlighted financial hardships of the public due to prevailing economic situation in the country and increased inflation, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar tried his best to ‘possible the impossible’ within the limited resources but there was dire need to strengthen the national economy with corrective measures.

He said the government had to pay a huge interest amount against the loans which was higher than the ‘federal receipts.’ Khawaja Asif said the government would have to get rid of the sick organization, citing examples of two such departments [without taking their names] of which debt was over Rs 1000 billion but they were being carried forward for reasons beyond understanding. Their early disposal would be better for the country, he added.

“Billions of rupees are being spent on such organizations sick to keep them alive and pumping the dead ones whose survival is impossible. It is a crime against the state,” he said, adding the CEO and COO of the departments, supposed to alleviate poverty from the country, were getting Rs 300,000-350,000 monthly salaries while holding their positions intact on stay orders of the courts.

The minister said revenue collection was the major source of the country’s income, but it was unfortunate that billions of rupees tax evasion was taking place.

Citing examples of some sectors, he said in the real estate around Rs 500 billion tax was evaded with under invoicing and on account of land evaluation, Rs 240 billion in tobacco sector as two foreign companies were paying 99 percent tax and rest of the companies which constituted 40 percent paid only 1 per cent.

Similarly, he said, Rs 50 billion tax was evaded by automobile and tyres sector, Rs 56 billion by lubricant dealers, Rs 65 billion by pharmaceutical companies, Rs 45 billion in tea import , Rs 30 billion in steel sector while Rs 2880 billion in the retail and Rs 222 billion in the yarn sectors.

He was of the view that if such kind of thefts would continue taking place in the country and how a government could be able to present a budget that mitigate sufferings of the common man in the real term.

He suggested a more effective mechanism to prevent the sale of smuggled items in open markets of the country as it would help generate more revenue and boost the national economy. The minister said around Rs 2000 billion tax-related cases were pending with the courts that needed early disposal.

“The country has the solution to all economic problems but needs the strong will,” he said adding Pakistan was a nuclear state and had an impregnable defence system, so there was no external threat but the economic challenges kept haunting the nation.

“Budget is a transactional mega event in which the fiscal plan is presented every year with upward and downward adjustments. It is considered a major event for the economy of any country. If fundamental things are not aligned with, the national economy can’t be put on the track,” he observed.

The minister reiterated that the country had the required resources to generate funds and improve the national economy but lacked the will for which all institutions including politicians were responsible. He criticized the last government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf that ruined the national economy and institutions due to its failed policy.

Khawaja Asif also talked about the May 9 incidents which he said was equal to challenging writ of the state, adding it never happened in the country that a party after being ousted from the government in a legal and constitutional way resorted to attacking the military installations and damaging the martyrs memorials.

He informed the House that around 32,000 persons had so far been identified for their alleged involvement in vandalism of the military installations and memorials of the martyrs. — DNA

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