Islamabad: Pakistan PM Imran Khan warned of legal action against those who do not declare their undisclosed assets by June 30, as the cash-strapped government ramps up efforts to fix the country’s economy. Addressing the nation ahead of the federal budget for fiscal year 2019-20, Khan said: “We will need to change ourselves if we want to become a great country. I am appealing to all of you to take part in the asset declaration scheme that we have brought, because if we don’t pay taxes, we will not be able to raise our country up,” Khan said.
The PM said that people have until June 30 to declare their benami assets, benami bank accounts and money that was kept abroad. Benami is a term used for a transaction, contract, or property that is made or held under a name that is fictitious or is that of a third party who holds as ostensible owner for the principal or beneficial owner.
“After June 30, you will not get this opportunity. Our agencies have information about who has benami accounts and benami properties,” the premier said. “My Pakistanis, in the past ten years Pakistan’s debt went from Rs 6,000 billion to Rs 30,000 billion. This country cannot cover its expenses on the money that is left behind,” he said.
Pakistan recently reached a preliminary agreement with the IMF for a $6 billion bailout. In May, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had announced its first tax amnesty scheme - Asset Declaration Scheme - for whitening of undisclosed expenditures, sales and assets, including foreign assets, at nominal tax rates. The scheme came into effect through a presidential ordinance, which will offer a period of 45 days to people for declaration of their undeclared assets, expenditures, and sales along with payment of taxes until June 30 this year.
The government plans to present an austerity-oriented budget with no increase in the salaries of army officials of higher ranks.