Pakistan PM Imran Khan says rising foreign debt a 'national security' issue

He said that due to lack of resources the government had little to spend on the welfare of the masses

Press Trust of India Islamabad
Imran Khan

Pakistan PM Imran Khan (Photo: Reuters)

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that the rising foreign debts coupled with low tax recovery had become a "national security" issue because government did not have enough resources to spend on people's welfare.

"Our biggest problem is that we don't have enough money to run our country due to which we have to borrow loans, Khan said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Track and Trace System (TTS) of the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) for the sugar industry in Islamabad.

He said that due to lack of resources the government had little to spend on the welfare of the masses.

Khan said that the rising foreign debts and low tax revenue had become an issue of "national security". He lamented that the prevailing culture of not paying taxes was a legacy of the colonial period when people disliked to pay taxes as their money was not spent on them.

He said due to failure to generate local resources, the successive governments resorted to loans.

Khan said that his government got USD 3.8 billion worth of new foreign loans in the past four months.

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The data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed that the borrowing was higher by USD 580 million, or 18 per cent, as compared to the loans obtained in the same period last year.

Khan also criticised the previous two governments from 2009 to 2018 for getting massive loans. He said that Pakistan could only overcome the "vicious cycle of debt by paying taxes.

He praised the FBR for increasing tax collection, aiming to achieve a tax target of Rs 8 trillion this year, and also launching the TTS which was under study since 2008.

Under the TTS, no production bag of sugar will be taken out from the factory and manufacturing plant without a stamp and individual identity mark.

In the next phase, the FBR was planning to introduce the track and system in the petroleum and beverages sector.

Earlier, Advisor on finance Shaukat Tarin said that there were just 3 million taxpayers in Pakistan out of 220 million population, but warned that the government by using technology had identified 1.5 million potential tax payers and asked them to pay tax before action was taken against them.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Nov 24 2021 | 1:50 AM IST

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