Kathmandu, Nov. 9 - Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has said that only morally clean political leaders can catch and punish the corrupt. Political leadership have to be clean themselves if they want to curb the culture of corruption and take action against the guilty, he said.
Referring to the government policy making it compulsory for the individuals to declare their property and show their income while buying automobiles, land or houses exceeding the fixed ceiling, the Finance Minister urged the private sector not to harbour fear as the government would work in a transparent manner. He assured that the tax payers would not be harassed but instead would be treated under clear and transparent economic policies and programmes.
Few days back, the government had announced that the individuals who bought automobiles amounting more than one and a half million rupees, land amounting more than two and a half million and house more than five million rupees had to show their income sources.
"The encouraging agents of the leakage of revenue are the political leadership, the bureaucracy and the people (tax payer). For controlling corruption, first the political leadership should be clean because corruption becomes rampant when the corrupt governments employees get protection from the political leadership.
The tax payers try to avoid paying tax in collaboration with the government officials. Therefore, the main responsibility for the control of corruption lies in the hand of the political leadership," Dr. Bhattarai said speaking at an interaction on revenue mobilisation and leakage control.
He urged the government employees to come out of the past financial anomalies. "You should not be acting under the influence of corrupt politicians no matter which party in the government forces you to do so," he urged the government officials.
Dr. Bhattarai stated that the government was working to create a situation where taxpayers pay taxes voluntarily. "We want that the revenue is collected willingly. We want to be transparent in our economic policies and programmes," he said.
He called upon the media and civil society to create awareness against corruption.
Finance Secretary Rameshwar Khanal committed that the government would make the highways free from barriers that stop vehicles and raise different types of local taxes.
Responding to queries from the representatives of the private sector about the declaration of property of the government employees, he said that they will have to pay taxes and declare their property.
Krishna Hari Baskota, Revenue Secretary, informed that the government was working to reform the property tax system. "A modified form of property tax scheme will come into force soon."
He assured that the government’s policies and programmes were not intended to terrify the clean taxpayers but to bring the those who are leading luxurious life by avoiding tax into the tax boundary.
Pradeep Man Vaidya, the representative of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries, dwelt on the topic of unauthorised trade practices and urged the government to control open border to prevent such practices and increase revenue collection. "Tax on certain items should be fixed in such a way that their prices are same both in Nepal and India so that there is no possibility of smuggling."
Three different departments under the Finance Ministry, namely the Revenue Collection, the Internal Revenue Collection and Customs Department, presented their papers highlighting their activities and government target for revenue collection this fiscal year- 142 billion rupees.