–Says Ishaq Dar should give a lecture on money laundering, increasing deficits instead of criticising govt
–State minister stresses the need for aggressive efforts for broadening the tax net
ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar on Thursday said former foreign minister Ishaq Dar, who has been declared an absconder by the court, should return to the country before criticising the government’s economic policies.
He lashed out at Dar for “lecturing the country on the economic situation”. He said that absconder Dar who is responsible for the current economic mess should first come back to the country and clear himself of corruption allegations before criticising the government’s economic policies.
He said that Dar would be better suited to give a lecture on money laundering and increasing deficits besides wrecking the economy.
“Courtesy of his policies, the state-owned enterprises are suffering losses. The gas sector worth Rs600 billion is bearing losses while the Pakistan Steel Mills has been closed down. The Jeddah Steel Mill is generating revenues for them. Dar has confessed on record that he had laundered Sharif family’s money from the country,” he said.
“Dr Hafeez Pasha had also revealed in his book how Dar had manipulated the economic statistics using Pakistan Bureau of Statistics,” he said, adding that Dar is an economic hitman.
He said that that government’s foreign reserves are increasing due to the initiatives taken by the incumbent government.
He said that when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came to power, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) did not have enough foreign reserves to fulfil its short-term liabilities but the government acted immediately and stopped the draining of foreign reserves.
“We are working hard to revive the economy and will end the crisis soon as the trade deficit is decreasing,” he said, adding that the government is not negotiating the exchange rate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He said that the government will confine the circular debt to Rs250 billion. “The circular debt was Rs453 billion last year. Soon we will expedite work on recoveries as the previous government had not focused on that,” he said.
Responding to a question about amnesty, he said that there is no clear-cut decision on that but on the basis of the present data, there is a need to start an aggressive broadening scheme. “There is the idea of giving tax evaders a chance of regularising their assets but that is from the point of view of broadening the tax net,” he said.
The state minister said that the government has sufficient data about $11 billion which are parked abroad. “According to the data received from 29 countries, there are 152,000 accounts in which $11 billion have been parked. About 40 to 50 per cent of these have been declared in taxes or amnesties,” he said, hinting that the government is dedicated to going after the rest.
When reminded that Communications Minister Murad Saeed had claimed to repatriate $200 billion upon coming to power, the state minister said that Murad had only quoted from the figures provided by Dar himself. “Dar had given the $200 billion figure on the floor of the house. Murad had only quoted him. He should not have done so because the World Bank had fined Dar for giving inaccurate data. Maybe Murad did not know Ishaq too well then,” he concluded.