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KARACHI: The government has identified 3.5 million tax evaders in Pakistan through applying three different methodologies using Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would now recover dues worth billions of rupees in taxes from them.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked to use “innovative models” to identify tax evaders. “So, we have applied three models and identified 3.5 million tax evaders. PM would soon make it (tax evaders figure) public,” said Muhammad Tariq Malik, Chairman, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

He was speaking at the Artificial Intelligence Summit 2022 organized by Total Communications with the support of the Ministry of IT and Telecom in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The tax evaders were driving luxury cars, living in posh localities, frequent flyers, and had arms licenses. “They had everything, but they didn’t have one thing that was NTN/National Tax Number,” he said.

“We are working with FBR (Federal Board of Revenue). The project is in the implementation phase, meaning (we are) enforcing it and collecting the data (and) tax due.”

Earlier, NADRA was challenged for using technology to identify tax evaders in 2012-2013 “due to lack of political will and that rich were very well protected in this country.”

Besides, NADRA has also used AI-based solutions to review policies now allowing single mothers and their children to get registered with NADRA. The technology-based solutions have also empowered women that they are now no more required to take permission from their divorced husbands to change their maiden names back to their father’s name under the NADRA system, he said.

Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput, Federal Secretary, Ministry of IT & Telecom, said that the government has initiated work at different levels of ministries, organizations, and departments to agree them sharing their data with each for the betterment of citizens and make working efficient.

“The government is the holder of the biggest data in Pakistan. But unfortunately, that data is fragmented and remains with multiple organizations in the federal level, provincial level, local government level, and there is no culture of sharing data rather each organization has very possessive and kind of secretive of data,” he said.

“So, unless we change that mindset this AI concept promotion in the country will be a big challenge… (In this regard), the framework will hopefully be launched in a couple of months,” he said.

The Federal Cabinet has approved the first Personal Data Protection Act. “It is now with the ministry of law for vetting and then it will go to the parliament for enactment.”

The Act would protect peoples’ data from being misused, while the data can only be used for the betterment of the citizens, he said.

Tauseef H. Farooqi, Chairman, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), said the authority is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to introduce net metering in Pakistan.

Net metering allows citizens to sell surplus electricity generated through their small solar and wind-based generators to the government and allows them to acquire power from the national grid when required.

Lt. Gen. Khalid Asghar (retd), Rector, NUTECH, said that AI can be used to strengthen Pakistan’s deterrence policy to the next level. Besides, it can be used in various sectors of the economy including industries, agriculture, automotive, railways, and logistics purposes.

“AI has become strategic assets globally and it is the future of Pakistan as well,” he said. The one-day hybrid conference also featured two-panel discussions on (1) AI Use Cases and (2) NLP/NLU - How AI Changing Customer Experience. A number of international scholars also spoke through video links.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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