Pakistanis whiten Rs1 trillion assets in foreign countries

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ABU DHABI: Pakistanis in foreign countries whitened Rs1 trillion, with UAE topping the list of countries where they availed their amnesty schemes.

According to a report in The Khaleej Times, Pakistanis whitened their assets worth Rs1 trillion (Dh23.35 billion) in foreign jurisdiction including Rs346 billion (Dh8 billion) in the UAE, accounting for nearly one-third – 34.5 per cent – of the total whitened foreign assets.

This was the highest declaration among countries during the amnesty scheme that was launched last year.

Switzerland came in second (Rs114.8 billion), the UK (Rs89.7 billion), Singapore (Rs87.3 billion) and British Virgin Islands (Rs48.9 billion).

Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, director general for international tax at Federal Board of Revenues, said that the UAE was the place where Pakistanis had parked most of their money.

“That’s why we chose this place to send the message across to Pakistanis worldwide that they have less than one week to benefit from tax amnesty and declare all their undeclared assets,” he said.

Even this year, most of the money is whitened in the UAE, Singapore, UK and Canada.

Ahmed said that Pakistan and the UAE shared bilateral details of the undisclosed assets while bank accounts between the two countries were shared automatically.

Ahmed said that the government aimed to bring about an economic revival by bringing a massive undocumented economy–said to be around 80-90 percent of the formal GDP–into the economic radar.

Ahmed said that Pakistan had received information last year about undisclosed assets from 28 countries. He said that this number could go up to 71 this year and 100 in the next two to three years.

“It is the era of international secrecy and countries are now exchanging information,” he warned.