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    Saturday, 23 June 2018

    Caretaker Cabinet sanctions tax amnesty scheme

    The caretaker government has endorsed the amnesty scheme introduced by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, and has approved the rules issued in the plan.
    The decision was taken by the federal cabinet at a meeting held at the PM Office with Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk in the chair.
    “Government of Pak­istan’s US Dollars Denom­inated Amnesty Bonds Rules, 2018 were approved by the cabinet,” said an official press release issued by the PMO.
    Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had announced the amnesty scheme in January this year, encouraging Pakistanis to declare their foreign assets. The government had also offered reduced rates to broaden the tax base and address the challenges to the economy.
    The scheme — a one-time allowance — was approved by both the Senate and the National Assembly. The PML-N government believed that to widen the tax net, and get the wealthy to pay their due share, tax rates must be lowered and reforms made to the system.
    The opposition — both the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) — have rejected the scheme and termed it a move that allows legalising black money.
    PPP information secretary Nafisa Shah had at a press conference said that the PML-N announced the amnesty scheme to lure the business community as part of its election campaign, just as it had done in the past. “Once again, an all-too-similar scheme is being launched to benefit specific people from the ruling elite,” she said.
    Similarly, the PTI anno­unced that it would challenge the amnesty scheme in a court of law. The party rejected the five-point scheme of the government and claimed that it was designed to legalise black money.
    In a separate decision, the federal cabinet approved the signing of a memorandum of under­standing between Pakistan and Sudan for cooperation in human resource deve­lopment.
    The cabinet also offered condolences over the demise of veteran diplomat Jamsheed Marker.
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