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Paying Taxes is National Obligation: Imran Khan

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Pakistan’s prime minister says his government wants to eradicate poverty through wealth creation, tax collection, industrialization

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday called on Pakistan’s business community to consider payment of taxes a “national obligation,” saying no country can be run without tax collection.

Addressing a ceremony to distribute Rs. 30 billion in refunds for sales and income tax in Islamabad, Khan said the government was dedicated to uplifting the masses and eradicating poverty through wealth creation, tax collection and industrialization. “No country can economically progress if it has a weak tax collection system,” said Khan, as he lauded Federal Bureau of Revenue Chairman Shabbar Zaidi for effectively improving tax collection in the past year.

The prime minister hailed the government’s economic team for curtailing the country’s current account deficit, which he reiterated was the biggest challenge facing his regime when it came into power last year. Noting that the current account was in surplus for the first time in four years, he said it was being reflected on the ground through the restoration of public confidence in the stock market, and an increase in the volume of exports.

Khan, once more, accused previous governments for economic instability, specifically slamming their short-term policies for failing to consider future problems. He said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government was inspired by China, whose economic progress was based on long-term policies and human development. He said Pakistan had substantial gold and copper reserves but had bee unable to profit off them due to corruption.

The prime minister also thanked Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, China and Qatar for their financial aid in helping his government overcome Pakistan’s economic issues, but noted that financial loans and aid were not considered good for the dignity of a country. He said the government was striving to strengthen the country’s economy by promoting tax culture and industrialization.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Hafeez Sheikh also addressed the gathering and echoed P.M. Khan’s remarks. He said improving economic indicators such as the exchange rate, current account deficit, fiscal deficit, foreign direct investment and stock market had proven Pakistan was on the path to economic stability.

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