Kosher it is
They may be getting in the groove, finally. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government soon after signing a deal with the IMF has announced a tax amnesty scheme which they prefer to call asset declaration scheme as if nomenclature would hide the obvious: desperate and funds-starved government clutching at anything that may have a promise for money.
The party has no qualms in eschewing its own ideals and eating its own words for the sake of stemming the downward spiral in the economy. We know from the non-stop tele-talks by the party loyalists that this scheme is different from the PML-N’s 2018 amnesty scheme. While the previous govt’s scheme was meant to benefit the tax evaders, asset concealers and money launderers eventually promoting corruption, this one shall provide a one-time opportunity to those operating in the grey zone to be a part of the documented economy.
The few conditions of this scheme are: that cash or any assets thus whitened shall be deposited in a bank before it can be declared. The assets can be declared by paying 4 per cent tax. If anyone wants the assets to remain parked abroad, s/he will need to pay an extra two per cent. And that the scheme can be availed till June 30th. For the declaration of real estate, its value will be considered 150pc of the FBR-assigned value to bring it at par with the market rate. The tax rate will be 1.5pc for whitening of immovable properties.
The scheme can be availed by all companies, associations of persons and individuals however the public office-holders and their dependents cannot benefit from this opportunity.
Amid fierce criticism from the opposition parties who are reminding the PTIwalas all that they had to say about past such schemes, the government is digging its heels and has already taken some bold decisions by replacing the finance minister as well as some important public officials. The intent is clear to not experiment any further and go the chartered course as the technocrats advise. The new advisor on finance wasted no time in taking decisions that were waiting to be taken for long. FBR chairman following a similar pattern has announced some bold measures. This clarity of action on the part of government may not help in the short term but will surely help stabilize the turbulent economy. The very next day the IMF deal was done, the stock exchange plunged by over 900 points. Yesterday Dollar traded at over 146 rupees. That ‘governance is easy’ is proving to be the misstatement of the year.