LAHORE: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has reiterated his commitment to put the country on the path of prosperity and development. “We, with our constant and unwavering determination, will leave India far behind,” the premier said while addressing a ceremony, held to award shields to the honest, hardworking, and efficient officers of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in Lahore on Saturday.

He further said all the politicians, bureaucrats and heads of the organizations should work together for the development of the country.

The premier announced that the country had the potential to collect revenues of over Rs 24 trillion against the annual tax target of Rs 9.4 trillion. An amount of around three times the annual revenue target was ‘going down the drain’ due to corruption, inefficiency and negligence, he said, adding: “This huge amount could be utilized to pay debts, construct hospitals, schools, universities and roads in the country.”

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Shehbaz said that time had come to separate white from black, and to take decisions of reward and punishment purely on merit as no nation could develop without strictly following the discipline criteria for the government officials. “Pakistan was facing multiple challenges including low tax to GDP ratio and external and internal debts that were increasing every passing day,” Shehbaz said.

Talking about the amount worth Rs 2.7 trillion held up across various appellate forums, including commissioners’ appeals, Appellant Tribunal Inland Revenue (ATIR) and various courts, Shehbaz said the law had been made to recover such amounts. Under the new law, the ATIR members, equivalent to the high court judges would be appointed through an open competition and their tests and interviews would be conducted through reputable institutions such as LUMS, IBA etc. He said those members would also get high perks and privileges equivalent to the senior judges.

Regarding Rs 756 billion sales tax scam unearthed by the FBR, the PM said he had directed the authorities concerned to make every possible to recover such looted money.

About the track and trace system, he emphasized that it was one of the major fraud in the country’s history.

Earlier, the PM gave away the shields to the honest and hard working officers of the FBR and said that he was feeling proud that the country had plenty of such honest officers which could play their due role in development and prosperity of the country. He said the only aim of this ceremony was to encourage the country’s heroes, who worked hard with honesty to meet the targets of the taxes. “This factor would multiply in future and the officers would be fully acknowledged only on the basis of their honesty, efficiency, hard work and sincerity toward the nation,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Finance and Revenue, Senator Muhammad Aurangzeb said revenue collection plays vital role in socioeconomic development being major source to run the government business. He said policies were formed for broadening tax base in the country, adding that now it was time to execute these polices with full efficiency, transparency and honesty to turnaround the national economy on fast track of economic development and growth.

Stressing the need for strengthening tax collection and promoting tax culture, he said that there were about 3 million commercial and industrial electricity and gas connections and only 200,000 of them were paying their Sales Tax. FBR Chairman Amjad Zubair Tiwana thanked the prime minister for acknowledging the hard work of his officers. He said the prime minister was taking keen interest in boosting the tax revenues and had held several meetings in this regard.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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Aamir May 05, 2024 09:15am
Even if 24 trillion is collected it will be wasted by our low IQ and corrupt leaders. The nation will get nothing in return for taxes as has been happening since Pakistan's creation.
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KU May 05, 2024 09:28am
Nothing surprises anyone anymore corruption riddled country. Surreal to see officials of FBR awarded even when international agencies label it as the most corrupt, Rs. 600 billion corruption annually.
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Abdul hamid dagia May 05, 2024 12:33pm
Karachi largest Tax Paying City of Pakistan yet infrastructure devastated requires Urgent Attention
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