Imran wants immediate cut in power tariff
26 October, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday demanded immediate cut in power tariff and announced to table a bill in parliament for bringing "simplicity in government expenses".
Addressing a press conference, Khan said that the PML-N is now showing its true colours of being a "rich man's club" rather than a political party representing all segments of Pakistani society.
The PTI chairman demanded that the government immediately rollback GST and the price hike in electricity "as these are causing immense suffering to the citizens, especially those who are least able to bear the burden of spiralling inflation and rising indirect taxation".
"The PTI realises the economic crisis facing the country but even before the elections it had provided alternate solutions to resolve the prevailing economic issues without adding to the burden of ordinary citizens," he said.
Khan offered more "viable and just ways" of dealing with the economic crunch, beginning with the enforceable principle that all income should be taxed. He said that FBR has identified three million people who should be paying taxes but they are not, adding that an immediate Rs 300 billion could be added to the national exchequer if each of these tax evaders is made to pay even Rs 100,000.
"Additionally, there is about 35 % sales tax evasion in the country and if this is stopped, Rs 250 billion can be recovered," he added.
Furthermore, he said, exempted sectors like property and agriculture should be brought into the tax net.
"Capital Gains Tax must be introduced on property and the stock market and the federal government can take this measure. This will again widen the tax net and will be a progressive rather than a regressive tax. The rich in Pakistan have too many legal tax exemptions while the middle class and poor continue to be burdened with increasing indirect taxes. This must change."
The PTI chief recalled that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had declared during the election campaign that Rs 300 billion was being lost to electricity theft and Rs 600 billion to tax evasion. By ending these thefts, the national exchequer would be richer by Rs 900 billion instead of gaining just Rs 150 billion by increasing the electricity tariff, he said.
Khan demanded that the government bring back the looted money from foreign countries where new laws allow for this.
"Why hasn't the government taken advantage of these laws to bring back this money that belongs to the people of Pakistan?" he said.
He also asked for ending all "money whitening schemes as this is a long overdue measure", and called for reforms in FBR, including making it autonomous. He also called for an immediate austerity policy where all governor houses in the country should be converted into public buildings, their gardens into parks and present expenses of maintaining these should also be made public.
"These are colonial remnants and should be converted into museums. Again, each province should have at best only one CM House and expenditures for that should be made public and drastically reduced. The practice of declaring private residences as CM House must immediately end as it puts a further strain on limited state resources," he said.