Staff Reporter Karachi
Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin said on Friday that the country cannot progres s without paying taxes.
Speaking to the journalists in Karachi, the minister said that increase in exports is the top priority of the government, adding that it is indispensable to take the country forward with the help of traders.
The minister maintained that steps had also been taken to broaden the tax base with the help of technology.
He also said that that the payment of taxes would now be ensured through universal self as-sessment and third-party audits.
“A new mechanism would also be introduced to ensure proper recovery from the retail sector under which prizes would be given to consumers for en-suring that they collected receipts from retailers.”
He said data of taxpayers, and even unregistered voters, had been collected from various sources.
“We will seek the services of 1,500 professionals from the ICAP for the audits,” he said, adding that defaulters would be sent reminders to pay their taxes. “If they failed to pay their taxes even then, they would be arrested,” he warned.
Shaukat Tarin assured the businessmen in Kara chi that the government would address their issues. He said a glimpse of his commitment to address the business community s issues was visible in the budget for the fiscal year 2021-22.
“[For] the budget, I tried to consult everybody in the business community, tried to accommodate as much as I could, while remaining within the frame-work of the IMF,” he said.
Continuing his speech, Shaukat Tareen said that he would meet the businessmen of Karachi every three months.
“We have to take the country forward together with the traders. We also will consult with traders on government economic policies,” he added.
The finance minister further said that increasing exports was the government s top priority. Entrepreneurs make positive suggestions for economic growth.
The finance minister also acknowledged that there had been a rise in inflation, particularly food inflation.
“Food inflation is rising due to interna-tional prices as we are a net importer of food now,” he said, adding that the failure to focus on the agri-culture sector had also contributed to the problem. “Our country was the fourth largest economy of Asia in 1968.