Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday issued a warning to the citizens: Those who fail to declare their undisclosed assets by June 30 will have to face legal consequences. The warning was issued in an apparent effort to revive the cash-strapped country’s economy.

Ahead of the declaration of the federal budget for the fiscal year 2019-20 on Tuesday, Khan said, “We will need to change ourselves if we want to become a great country.” He added, “I am appealing to all of you to take part in the Asset Declaration Scheme that we have brought because if we don’t pay taxes, we will not be able to raise our country up.”

Thus people have time till June 30 to declare their benami assets, benami bank accounts and money that was hoarded abroad. He also warned that the government agencies already have information about who holds benami accounts and benami properties. Benami refers to a transaction, contract, or property that is made or held under a name that is fictitious or is that of a third party who holds as an ostensible owner for the principal or beneficial owner.

Khan said, “This was never available to us before therefore take advantage of this scheme. Give Pakistan the benefit. Fix your children’s future. [Give us] the chance that we get this country to stand on its own two feet and take people out of poverty.”

“My Pakistanis, in the past ten years Pakistan’s debt went from Rs 6,000 billion to Rs 30,000 billion,” he said. Khan said that the damage that this had caused to the country was that the annual tax collected was approximately Rs 4,000 billion, half of which went towards repaying loans “they” had taken. “This country cannot cover its expenses on the money that is left behind,” he added.

Pakistan recently reached a preliminary agreement with the IMF for a USD 6 billion bailout. Imran Khan also noted, “Pakistan is the country that unfortunately gives the least tax in the world but is among the few countries that give the most charity.”

(With agency inputs)