KARACHI: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry Junaid Esmail Makda, while appreciating Prime Minister Imran Khan for accepting KCCI’s proposal to announce Asset Declaration Scheme, welcomed the much awaited tax amnesty scheme which the cabinet approved yesterday while the Ordinance was signed by President Dr. Arif Alvi on Wednesday providing an opportunity for whitening undisclosed expenditures, sales and assets, including foreign assets, at nominal tax rates.
In a statement issued, President KCCI stressed that in order to make the amnesty scheme successful, the government will have to ensure complete secrecy and confidentiality of the declarants’ data at any cost otherwise, they will not be able to achieve the desired results.
He said that this amnesty scheme must not end up like the last one in which the highly classified data of those individuals who availed the previous amnesty scheme was shared with several government agencies including Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the commitment to keep declarants’ info confidential.
Referring to government’s assurance to keep this scheme easy to understand, he hoped that the amnesty scheme has been devised in such a manner that number of queries are kept minimal as it is a well-known fact that individuals will be reluctant to respond to excessive queries seeking details about the source of income and other such questions because of fears of getting into any kind of trouble in future.
“The business community will be more than happy to become part of the documented economy but the government has to support them by protecting them from any kind of harassment from agencies/ institutions”, he added.
He further stated that although the government has provided the opportunity to become part of the scheme until June 30 but this scheme must be extended for a longer period. After seeing the failure of previous amnesty scheme in which harassment by serving notices was widely witnessed, many individuals will be reluctant to declare their assets hence, the government must extend it and also has to take confidence building measures in due course to regain the trust of the masses. “After seeing some success stories of those individuals who avail this year’s amnesty scheme, I am sure many others will also come forward to benefit from the amnesty scheme so it must be made available for a longer period to tap such individuals”, he added.
He was fairly optimistic that the scheme will help the government in bringing undocumented persons, assets and income into the documented sector. The scheme has the potential to bring in macroeconomic and fiscal stability in the economy.
President KCCI further stated that this scheme offers a lucrative opportunity to pay just 4 percent for legalizing Benami Assets within the country and 6 percent for assets outside the country while 3 percent tax for undeclared sales which was a good offer for whitening the black money.