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Evasion: PTI chief says he will reduce tax rates if elected

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said the political elite does not want tax reforms in the country, otherwise, they will have to declare their wealth and pay taxes.

He said this while talking to members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) at its head office on Saturday.

“If our party comes to power, it will reduce tax rates in order to increase its collection. Tax collection is a big problem in Pakistan because people do not trust institutions,” said Khan, who was visiting the KCCI for the first time since general elections in 2013.

“How can our leaders expect people to pay taxes when they themselves evade them?” he asked.

He said Pakistan was unable to receive the desired foreign direct investment (FDI) because foreign investors believed their capital was not safe due to prevalent corruption in the country.

“Credible research shows that those countries that have high levels of corruption receive low FDI. Similarly, in case of Pakistan, corruption is a big hurdle in the way of attracting FDI,” he stressed.

The PTI’s top leadership also came to the KCCI office along with Khan, who appeared to have stepped up political activities in the commercial capital after a long break.

“People in power should lead by example like we see in western democracies. However, it is unfortunate that the government is using the FBR to victimise business people and politicians who speak against them,” Khan added.

PTI MNA Asad Umar commented that unless the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) machinery was overhauled, tax reforms could not be brought in Pakistan.

“Finance Minister Ishaq Dar thinks everything is fine with the economy as far as the FBR is collecting the desired amount in taxes. Much of our economic issues, including a fast decline in exports, are due to the policies of our finance minister, who has throttled the economic growth,” he said.

Former KCCI president Siraj Kassam Teli said Dar did not come to the Karachi Chamber because businessmen would ask questions.

“There are politicians who do not like us because we ask pinching questions. Our top rulers want ‘yes’ leadership of the business community that does not raise questions at all,” he said.

Teli urged Khan and his party representatives to speak more about economic issues in the country.

Earlier, KCCI President Shamim Ahmed Firpo asked Khan to bring his party’s vision on Pakistan’s economy. “Tell us about your strategy and programme on Pakistan’s declining exports?” he said.

Criticising the federal government’s approach, Firpo said the government thought that Lahore was Pakistan, perhaps that was why its ministers did not bother to visit Karachi or other cities.

courtesy : Express Tribune

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