ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that Pakistan could not become a modern economy unless it developed a tax culture, adding that the government is working on reforms.
Addressing a ceremony at the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), the premier said that Pakistan's retail market alone is worth Rs18 trillion, but the registered market is only one-sixth of it, and the rest is out of the tax net.
Speaking regarding the mini-budget the premier said that its purpose was to document the economy effectively, adding that if the country's wealth generation is not properly registered, it cannot raise tax collection.
On Monday, the National Assembly (NA) session deferred discussion on the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021, commonly known as the mini-budget, to focus on the Murree tragedy that resulted in at least 22 tourists losing their lives.
The session, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, was supposed to take up the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, seen as a key condition to revive the $6-billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Khan said that the government was also focused on supporting the country's export industry. "Unless Pakistan's exports increase substantially, we will remain stuck in the debt trap," he said.
The premier said that the entire world is facing the challenge of inflation due to lockdowns in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The country is facing imported inflation due to a rise in commodity prices internationally," he said. "Inflation will ease in the coming months as pandemic pressures on the economy subside."
Addressing the business community, he said the government is constantly working to facilitate businesses in Pakistan.
He added that a country cannot prosper financially unless it is industrialized. “Pakistan has become a trading country rather than an industrial country,” he explained.
Khan reiterated that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government inherited a difficult economic situation.
"No previous government had to face a fiscal deficit of the scale the current government has faced," he emphasised.