KARACHI: Business leaders have welcomed the asset declaration scheme introduced by the PTI government, which provides an opportunity to whitening undisclosed expenditures, sales and assets, including foreign assets, at nominal tax rates. In a statement issued, President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Junaid Makda stressed that in order to make the amnesty scheme successful, the government will have to ensure complete secrecy and confidentiality of the declarants’ data.[the_ad id="31605"]He said that this amnesty scheme must not end up like the last one in which the highly classified data of those individuals who availed the amnesty scheme was shared with several government agencies including Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “The business community will be more than happy to become part of the documented economy but the government has to support them by protecting them from any kind of harassment from agencies/ institutions”, he added. Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig Senior Vice President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) hailed the new amnesty scheme announced by the government and called it more practical and effective covering the loop holes of previous schemes. Dr. Baig also endorsed that the persons availing amnesty must file income tax returns to become a registered tax payer. “The new scheme applies 2% additional tax on foreign assets not repatriated to Pakistan. The new Amnesty scheme also provide clearance of past sales tax liabilities by 2% taxes which will give relief to the registered tax persons to regularize their old disputes”. Business community is of the view that the scheme should be extended beyond June 30, while the government should take confidence building measures in due course to regain the trust of the masses. The scheme offers the opportunity to pay just 4 percent for legalizing Benami assets within the country and 6 percent for assets outside the country while 3 percent tax for undeclared sales. While complimenting Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi for taking pro-business steps, President KCCI Junaid Makda hoped that he would continue to do so throughout his tenure which would help in restoring the confidence of business community and that in turn would lead to economic prosperity. He advised Chairman FBR to formulate practical policies to increase the tax net and catch tax evaders in order to strengthen the country’s economy. The loyal taxpayers are being overburdened every year to achieve the revenue targets whereas those outside the tax net continue to enjoy all the luxuries of life without contributing a single rupee to the national exchequer, he opined, adding that FBR has been claiming of having details of all such tax evaders since many years but unfortunately no action has been taken so far to strictly deal with them.