Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday held an interactive session with officers of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and tasked them with restoring the faith of taxpayers in the revenue body.

Addressing the officials at his office, Prime Minister Imran said that the core issue behind insufficient tax collection in the country is that people don’t trust the FBR.

He said that traders bodies always ask him to implement a fixed-tax regime as they don’t want the FBR to deal with them.

The premier asked the FBR officers to submit their recommendations on how the trust deficit between traders and the FBR can be bridged. He also asked them to suggest ways to eliminate corruption within the tax collection body.

The prime minister said that the country is lagging behind in human development because the government has no money to spend on people.

“The country cannot progress in the fashion we are running it,” he said, adding that it was very important for the FBR to remove its fear among traders and industrialists.

Talking about the steps he took to restore the confidence of taxpayers in the government, he cited the austerity drive introduced by his government. Under the drive, Prime Minister Imran said, he did not use taxpayers’ money for security fencing of his house and reconstruction of a road in front of his private residence.

He added that he banned foreign visits of all ministers except for the most essential purposes. He noted that the federal government cut its budget by Rs45 billion while the army also cut its budget for the first time in the country’s history.

“The process of cost cutting within the government has started,” he said.

The prime minister accepted the FBR officers’ suggestion that economic policies in the future should be devised in consultation with them.

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