The current government, since their transition to power, has been finding creative ways to boost the economy and to bridge the gap created by circular debt before they can formally go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an economic bailout. In the last couple of months, we have witnessed several policies which have pointed out the government’s preference towards immediate revenue rather than working out policies which will eventually improve the economic net in the country. The move is also understandable to the extent that the current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) after its expenditures barely has a sum significant enough to spend on human development and infrastructural development in general.

Keeping that in mind, along with the added pressure on the business community due to the narrative of accountability, the government is once again aiming towards providing another amnesty scheme which will increase the tax base of Pakistan. This is being done at the suggestion of the business community put forth by the President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Engr. Daroo Khan Achakzai at a meeting involving a few stakeholders. The demands put forth revolved around the need to revise the last amnesty scheme and implement it. They also suggested the initiation of an awareness campaign for the target community so that the tax base can actually be improved.

The first thing that the government needs to do is bridge the gap between all relevant stakeholders because the meeting was criticised by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Executive Committee Member and Former Vice President, Mirza Abdul Rehman for excluding several stakeholders. If the entire business community is interested in an amnesty scheme, the government direly needs them on their side to give business a boost, especially before the IMF policy is adapted because that would reduce the space for such schemes. At the same time, the government needs to conduct a thorough analysis of how the last scheme fared and improve the new one accordingly. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has collected data from various sources to identify wealthy individuals whose names are absent from tax rolls. A strict mechanism should be adopted to improve the tax collection regime and the government must also consider the possibility of using traditional methods to improve the tax net because amnesty schemes have been offered before and they have not shown the desired result.