Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Govt has potential to raise revenues worth over Rs 24 trillion annually: PM

Govt has potential to raise revenues worth over Rs 24 trillion annually: PM
May 4, 2024 Web Desk

LAHORE (APP) - Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said the country had the potential to collect revenues of over Rs 24 trillion against the annual tax target of Rs 9.4 trillion.

He said an amount of around three-time of the annual revenue target was ‘going down the drain’ due to corruption, inefficiency and negligence.

This huge amount, he said, could be utilized to pay debts, construct hospitals, schools, universities, and roads in the country.

Addressing a ceremony to award shields to the honest, hardworking and efficient officers of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) here, the prime minister said that time had come to separate white from the 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.

The prime minister pointed out that Pakistan was facing multiple challenges including low tax to GDP ratio and external and internal debts that were increasing every passing day. As regards the amount worth Rs 2.7 trillion held up across various appellate forums, including commissioners’ appeals, Appellant Tribunal Inland Revenue (ATIR) and various courts, he said now the law had been made to recover such amounts.

He said 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.

The prime minister said those members would also get high perks and privileges equivalent to the senior judges. Pointing to another Rs 756 billion sales tax scam recently uncovered by the FBR, the prime minister said that he had directed the authorities concerned to make every possible to recover such looted money.

Earlier, the prime minister 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 all the politicians, bureaucrats, and heads of the organizations should together work for the development 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.

As regards, the track and trace system, the prime minister emphasized that it was one of the major fraud in the country’s history. The prime minister said he always tried to be fair in the governance and 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.”

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Muhammad Aurangzeb said that revenue collection plays vital role in socio-economic development, adding that it is major source to run the government business.

He said that 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.

The minister stressing the need for strengthening tax collection and promoting tax culture, 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.