Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the Federal Bureau of Investigation Track and Trace System Launch Ceremony on November 23, 2021. Geo News
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday stressed that taxes are vital for the economic stability and survival of the country, saying that the lack of a “tax culture” in Pakistan puts the sustainability of the country at stake.
The Prime Minister expressed these views during the ceremony to launch the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) tracking and tracing system in the sugar sector.
The system set up by the FBR will ensure electronic monitoring of the production and sale of sugar.
Prime Minister Imran Khan hoped that the use of technology would help control tax theft and raise revenue collection to Rs 8 trillion per year.
Our biggest problem is that we have to take out loans to run the country. Countries cannot work without taxes. Our stability is at stake, he noted.
He praised Prime Minister’s Advisor for Finance Shaukat Tarin, FBR and other relevant institutions for introducing the technology-based system for which efforts had been made since 2008.
The Prime Minister said that the introduction of the tracking and tracing system was an important and positive achievement, which will have a far-reaching impact.
He said that with a reasonable tax-to-GDP ratio in the West and the highest in the Scandinavian countries, Pakistan could not promote tax culture for various reasons, including the aristocratic lifestyle of the ruling elite in the past. , which shattered the confidence of taxpayers. in governments.
The practice of not paying the taxes owed has continued since the colonial era, when people thought their hard-earned money was taken by foreign rulers and did not have basic facilities, he said. he points out.
Speaking about the challenges Pakistan is facing, he said the main problem the government faces is that “it does not have enough money to run the country, which is why we have to take loans” .
He compared the situation to a household that continues to struggle due to financial constraints and is never able to move forward because it never has enough savings to invest in the future.
“Pakistan’s sustainability at stake”
“It is so important that this culture is developed in Pakistan because our very sustainability is at stake here,” he said, adding that between 2008 and 2018 Pakistan’s debt had quadrupled.
“It amazes me. These people (former leaders) should be punished. In 10 years, the debt which amounted to Rs 6 trillion has climbed to Rs 30 trillion,” added the Prime Minister.
He said that during all this time, “no major projects that could benefit the country have been introduced.”
“So our challenge was tax collection and I congratulate the FBR team on a record tax collection,” he said, adding that the government is aiming to raise it to Rs 6 trillion.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said of this amount 3 trillion rupees will go to debt repayment. “And we will have 3 trillion rupees left for a population of 220 million,” he said, adding that their health, education and infrastructure needs will have to be met.
“And then we have to invest, in research and agriculture, which have so much potential,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that without enough money to support all these projects, the government ends up having to take out loans “and we remain in this vicious cycle”.
“The only way to break is to increase our tax collection,” he said, adding that this would only be possible with the use of technology and that the tracking and tracing system marks a big step in that direction.
Speaking of young people, he said that they will end up being the “engine of growth” for Pakistan and should be invested in, which is only possible with more income.
The prime minister said the government was working at full speed to bring down the luxury lifestyle of the ruling elite for whom an austerity campaign is in full swing. Pointing the finger away, he said that spending at two RBF offices “has seen a reduction of Rs 1.1 billion despite inflation.”
He said that when people see that money is being spent on them and that taxes are for the welfare of the people, the change in perception will come automatically.
No bag of sugar can be taken out of the production site without identification.
Earlier, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said the system will also be used to monitor the movement of goods from production to sale in key sectors like fertilizers and cement in the next phase.
“The scope of electronic surveillance will extend from the production of goods to the use by consumers, which will improve the country’s income generation, bring transparency to the system and prevent tax evasion,” the report said. communicated.
After implementing the tracking and traceability system in the tobacco sector, FBR is now deploying electronic monitoring in other major sectors like sugar, he added.
FBR also plans to introduce the system in the beverage and petroleum industries in the near future.
As soon as the system begins to operate in the sugar sector, no bag of sugar can be removed from the production site, factory or manufacturing plant without stamps and individual identification.
It is relevant to mention that the tracking and traceability system entered into force on November 11, 2021.
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