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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday stressed upon traders, businessmen and industrialists to come forward and work with the government in cohesion for collection of taxes which he termed as pre-requisite for running the financial matters of the country.

Addressing an award distribution ceremony of the Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce, the prime minister invited the traders’ community and industrialist to work as team with the government.

He expressed the confidence that with collective efforts, they would surpass the current difficult phase of economy.

He regretted that the country was burdened with whopping debt of Rs 30,000 billion in the last one decade by the previous rulers and half of collected taxes went for payment of these loans and interest.

The prime minister declared that the country could no longer function under such conditions and the persisting mindset. About 70 per cent out of total tax was being paid by 300 companies alone whereas the ratio of paying taxes in the service and agriculture sectors was dismal.

“We have to change the mindset as the country can no longer run on the old patterns. It is indispensable to broaden the tax net,” he said, adding that in the past, people did not trust the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) due to their bitter experience.

In 2013, the prime minister said, the then minister had admitted huge corruption in FBR but now it was now being reformed.

About resistance showed by certain groups of traders over tax measures, the prime minister declared that he would not bow to pressure and such tactics and would not budge from the steps as it would amount to disloyalty with the country.

He observed that the country did not have financial resources whereas on the other hand, the people were demanding establishment of schools, universities and hospitals. These could be possible when there were enough resources with the government and referred to tax collection measures in this regard.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2019