Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that his government’s ‘Digital Pakistan’ initiative will help the country to fully utilise its potential by shifting from cash economy to digital.
The premier said this while addressing a ceremony in Islamabad to launch digital payment system titled ‘Raast’ which is part of Digital Pakistan programme aimed to make poor and vulnerable segments of the society part of formal economy.
“It [Raast] is a major step towards fully utilising country’s potential and it will transform the country’s cash economy to digital,” he said while congratulating the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for introducing the digital payment system.
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The newly-launched digital system will also enable secure, efficient and transparent financial transactions.
PM Imran said Pakistan is ranked among one of the lowest tax paying countries in the world as large chunk of population is not part of formal economy.
“Cash economy is major hurdle for country’s progress and the country can never progress until we pay taxes,” he added.
In his speech, the premier revealed that out of 222 million people only 2 million pay taxes, adding that 70 per cent taxes out of the 2 million people come from only 3,000 people.
He said taxes provide fund to the government to spend on human development programmes and lift the vulnerable segment of the society from poverty.
The premier hoped that Raast will slowly and gradually take the country away from the “addiction” of cash economy and enable the country to take full advantage of its people.
“The real target is to boost formal economy and our biggest problem is that we have a big informal economy,” PM said, adding that the government can neither collect taxes in the presence of a big informal economy nor could it progress until modernising it. “Without revenues, there is no progress,” he said.
“The country which was making rapid progress in the region 50 years ago can’t move ahead because we don’t have enough financial resources,” he said.
Giving an example of recently launched ‘Roshan Digital Account’ for overseas Pakistanis, PM Imran said it led to the unprecedented increase in remittances which ultimately helped local currency to remain stable. “Overseas Pakistanis now prefer formal channels to send money due to which current account is in surplus.”