The Real Golden Handshake



Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saunters in his office where his finance team, Senator Ishaq Dar, the federal Finance Minister and Finance Secretary Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Planning, National Reforms, and Development  and the ever-needed Pervez Rasheed, federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage are present.

The ubiquitous khoya-enriched glass of lassi follows the Prime Minister. A hearty sip and Nawaz Sharif is in his element.

Pervez Sahib, I have been hearing that some people are not happy with our tax amnesty scheme. I have ben told the names of ever unhappy Imran Khan and Shireen Mazari. But sometimes back I heard that Shireen is in the PTI foreign policy group so why is putting her fingers in the tax scheme? He he he … Perhaps she is universal at showing anger towards us!

I am told that Shireen said that we are calling “tax evaders” as “non-filers.”

As you know that I am not all conversant with all this tax language but at least what is problem with using “non-filer” … some people are good at keeping files and some are not!

Dar Sahib, is it a crime anywhere not to keep files?

I don’t know what is this opposition matter. It is not too long in the past but for five years, my brother Asif Zardari and I did our Charter of Democracy, although I had signed it with his late wife … and he he he, Imran keeps calling it muk-mukka!

Dar Sahib, isn’t it shameful that Peoples Party used its Senate numbers to frustrate your genius PIA selling scheme?

I am really thinking what else we can sell because IMF will come reminding that we sell something and return their loan. Of course, we can’t sell our bus lines. And Chaudry Iftikhar of good memory already blocked the steel mills sale.

Pervez Sahib, you are our Imran specialist … he he he … I am told that he was asking people for $8 million to buy equipment for his hospital in Peshawar and they sent him $9 million. Really! Or, was it $10 million that he got $9 million.

But Dar Sahib, it proves that people do send money. So why all this noise over our tax scheme because in the final count we will get money?

I am sure Dar Sahib has a lot of traders in our vote bank when he has allowed them to whiten their undeclared business assets by paying a nominal tax. I think it is a very good scheme. Instead of wrestling with traders, by ending the deadlock over the issue of banking transactions tax with the business community, Dar Sahib’s ministry spend that time to devise other good schemes.

I am sure that both our Finance Secretary Dr. Waqar and Ahsan Iqbal also support our Dar Sahib on this matter.

Khan Sahib, you know that you have a good person in President Mamnoon Hasan. He loves to approve summaries. He never forgets that why I brought him to Islamabad from Karachi. You send him Dar Sahib’s scheme so it could be introduced through a presidential ordinance.

The Prime Minister orders another glass of lassi.

Now Dar Sahib has this scheme where the Federal Board of Revenue will add more than two million new taxpayers to the tax net. At present there are less than one million taxpayers in the country.

Pervez Sahib, you too will agree that it is good idea. You should get your ministry to publicize it and especially when you come on TV to deal with Imran Khan.

Did you hear that Imran was calling Dar Sahib’s scheme as a tax on the honest people. He he he … So what’s new! Who do you expect to pay taxes? Of course, the honest people.

Pervez Sahib, you have to share our Dar Sahib’s brilliant scheme. For non-filers of income tax returns, he is allowing whitening of undeclared capital/business assets of up to Rs. 50 million. Dar Sahib is allowing that traders availing themselves of the scheme will be exempted from audit for three years and no question will be asked about their sources of income.

They will have to pay one per cent as tax (Rs. 500,000) on their declared business capital in the first year, Rs. 625,000 in the second year and Rs. 782,000 in the third year.

There is also a provision for non-filers of tax returns to either pay 0.2% of the declared turnover in the second and third years or 25% higher tax from the first year.

Dar Sahib, please give us brief of your scheme.

Ishaq Dar adjusts his spectacles, “Prime Minister Sahib, under the scheme for filers of income tax returns, there will be three different slabs to enable them to whiten their unlimited business capital. So 0.1% tax will be charged on declared turnover of a taxpayer in excess of Rs. 250 million and 0.15% in excess of Rs.100 million and up to Rs. 250 million. The traders declaring turnover between Rs. 50 million and Rs. 100 million will be charged 0.2%.

“Not only that, Prime Minister Sahib, businessmen can file returns in the name of family members to declare their assets below the threshold of Rs. 50 million and avail themselves of the three-year incentives of lower tax liabilities.

“After three years, the whitened money will be gifted to the original owner… Businessmen knew how to make best use of such schemes.

He he he … I think only the simpletons will go for 2% option. Ha ha ha

Yes, indeed Prime Minister Sahib, chimes Pervez Rashid.

I mean, I really admire our Dar Sahib’s expertise.

May be with all this money coming in and especially after the Senate creating the PIA sale problem; we can pay off the IMF debt. And of course, we need to keep the Orange Line work going.

Pervez Sahib, you need to publicize the fact that Dar Sahib has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to further improve the draft Voluntary Tax Compliance scheme in order to benefit the maximum number of new taxpayers. And of course, for people like Imran Khan and Shireen Mazari, you have to remind them the government of Nawaz Sharif is broadening the national tax base.

I really appreciate all what Dar Sahib is doing for non-filers. I never filed anything and I am Prime Minister for third time!

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