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Simplifying Amnesty 2019 Pakistan

The recently promulgated "Assets Declaration Ordinance, 2019” was discussed and dissected by BIPP’s research team in an in-house meeting chaired by VC Shahid Najam. Kainat Shakil, the research fellow and acting director, presented the core features of the Ordinance including its general ambit, legal scope, financial elements and socio-economic dimensions. The amnesty scheme will be valid form 30th June to 31st December 2019. It was observed that amnesty scheme is not a solution for the tax crisis in Pakistan, where on average less than 10% pay their annual dues. The problem needs to be addressed by comprehensive restructuring and revamping of the entire taxation system including policies' deficit, institutional and governance weaknesses and operational lags. The participants opined that the Assets Declaration Ordinance, 2019 is reflective of ad hocism which historically characterized the sub-optimal efforts to widen the tax base, generate resources, promote tax payment culture and prevent tax evasion. The PTI government should have learned from the saga of successive failures of these schemes from 1958, through to 2000-2001, 2008, 2013, 2016 etc., and instead should have focused on enacting laws to recover billions of dollars looted by corrupt and crooked mafia.

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