ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday reward money for the whistle-blowers, helping the government in detection and confiscation of benami assets, would be increased from 3 to 10% and announced that the money to be generated from the sale of such properties would be diverted to the government’s Ehasas Programme.
Addressing the launching ceremony of Rs42.65 billion National Poverty Graduation Initiative (NPGI) here, Khan said amendments would be made to the existing rules to increase incentives for the whistle-blowers. He expressed confidence that the money generated after selling benami properties would exceed the national budget.
The prime minister said he had taken the challenge of revamping the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to make the people pay taxes. He announced that the government would amend the laws to enhance the reward from existing 3 to 10% for the whistle-blowers, who would point out any benami property.
Responding to the criticism from Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister said during their tenures they served their own interests and even failed to establish a hospital where they could get medical treatment for their ownselves.
“During their governments, [former president] Asif Zardari and [former prime minister] Nawaz Sharif had paid 40 trips each to Dubai and London while the country’s loans swelled from Rs6,000 billion to Rs30,000 billion during the last 10 years,” said the prime minister.
He said that those who were in power from the last 30 years, now say that they would go to London for medical checkup. “They can’t even make a single hospital in their 30 years,” he said. “Shehbaz wants to enjoy the looted wealth stashed abroad, he is scared of death.”
The premier lamented the conditions of government hospitals, stating that Pakistan has the highest per capita of ratio of people affected by HIV. “AIDS cases in Larkana have shed light on the conditions of government hospitals. It seems previous governments did not care about the poor people,” he said. “We aim to change that.”
Khan launched the NPGI to steer the poorest household out of poverty by providing them interest-free loans, assets transfers and vocational and skills training. Held at the Prime Minister’s Office, the ceremony also marked the distribution of cheques of 86,151 interest-free loans worth Rs 3.02 billion among the deserving persons.
Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood, Special Assistant to PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar also attended the ceremony besides a huge number of representative from collaborating organisations and beneficiaries of the programme.
The prime minister said that the Ehsas Programme was derived from the model of Madina state that had given the concept of modern welfare state which is now being pursued by all the developed countries in the West. “Ehsas is the first well-integrated anti-poverty programme in which all the ministries have their roles,” he added.
He said the government had already increased the budgetary allocation for Ehsas Programme to Rs200 billion that would be enhanced further in the future. He said the government would launch different schemes under its flagship poverty alleviation programme every month.
Khan said around 60% of Pakistan’s population is below 30 years of age that could prove to be a great force if imparted proper skills and given ample opportunities to excel. “Naya Pakistan would bring the people out of poverty in real terms following in the footsteps of the State of Madina by allowing the wealth creation,” he said.
(With additional input from APP)
PHOTO: FILE …