Home Pakistan Amnesty schemes show ‘weakness of state’, Asad Umar says – Pakistan

Amnesty schemes show ‘weakness of state’, Asad Umar says – Pakistan

Amnesty schemes show 'weakness of state', Asad Umar says - Pakistan

PTI MNA and former finance minister Asad Umar criticized Thursday the idea of ​​introducing amnesty schemes to allow citizens to launder undisclosed assets, saying they show the "weakness of the state" against tax evaders.

Umar, who chaired a meeting of the Permanent Finance Committee of the National Assembly, referring to the value of foreign assets of Pakistani citizens identified by the Federal Revenue Board (FBR) said that "only Rs1 billion" recovered of the total Rs800bn despite the introduction of amnesty schemes.

Editorial: Tax amnesty again

He said a total of $ 5.5 billion was washed out of the country and used to buy property abroad.

"Under amnesty schemes, criminals are told that the state is helpless against you," he added.

During the meeting, FBR President Shabbar Zaidi, while informing the committee, said that of the total of 325 Pakistani citizens who had assets abroad, some resorted to amnesty plans. However, he added, no politician with public office has used the schemes.

He clarified that the 325 people evaded taxes but did not launder money since they transferred dollars abroad under a provision of the law.

According to Zaidi, actions were initiated in the 325 cases involving property abroad, of which 135 people then opted for the tax amnesty scheme offered by the PML-N government in 2018, while 56 people made use of the implemented scheme by the PTI government in 2019.

The FBR president said that the black money worth Rs62bn was laundered in 2018, while Rs31.78bn was laundered in 2019. He said 115 cases out of 325 total are still pending.

The president revealed that the board had received data on foreign assets from Pakistanis from 45 countries, while data from 19 countries is expected.

During the meeting, Umar noted the absence of the Advisor to the Prime Minister of Finance, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, and said that the advisor did not participate in any committee meeting since the PTI government took office. Compared to previous governments, he said that Shaikh, the then finance minister, had attended 18 of the 62 committee meetings during the PPP, while the PML-N finance minister had attended 17 meetings of the 72 total during tenure.

FATF Action Plan

The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Hammad Azhar, also attended the meeting and informed the committee about the developments that took place at the last session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

He said the country was taking timely steps to achieve the goals set by the FATF. Taking the example of Indonesia, he said that the country had left the & # 39; gray list & # 39; of the FATF in documenting its economy. Pakistan strives to follow the same pattern, he added.

The minister said that Pakistan received the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) plan in February 2018. There was no development in 22 points of the 27-point action plan when Pakistan's Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government assumed the power, he additional.

The government has acted on 17 points in the plan so far, Azhar said, adding that the country will present its final report on January 7, as the FATF must decide the matter in February 2020.

He said the government economic team wants to complete the ICRG plan for next year and that technical consultants have already been appointed to help facilitate this. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank are supporting Pakistan in this regard, he added.

The minister called the ICRG action plan challenging, saying there is much to do under it. He said the government is establishing a FATF secretariat and is working to complete the 27 points of the plan.

In detailing the FATF requirements, he said the watchdog wants a more effective implementation of the mechanism to curb suspicious transactions.

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1515470/amnesty-schemes-show-weakness-of-state-asad-umar-says

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