Published Date: Apr 27, 2017
Economic policies designed to protect corruption of elite
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader MNA Asad Umar has said that the prevalent economic system in the country was actually designed to protect and facilitate the corruption of influential and powerful people of the society.
He said that due to misplaced priorities and ill-conceived policies, our national economy was sinking in the swamp. This dismal situation could be improved only through introducing direct tax regime and reducing the present GST rates that were highest in the region. He said this while sharing his thoughts with the audience at ‘Pre-budget discussion with Asad Umar’ held at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Wednesday.
Asad Umar said that the current deficit of Pakistan at present was touching $6.1 billion whereas the exports have witnessed a decrease first time ever in the country. He said that government should decrease indirect taxes and GST rate should be brought down up to 15pc. He said that due to anti-growth and anti-industrialization tax policies, the economic activities in the country have been slowed down whereas the purchasing power has been reduced to a few hands and thus even international financial institutions have termed that the disparity of a certain level was harmful for the economic growth.
The PTI leader said prior to elections in 2013, PTI and PML-N had promised to people of Pakistan that GST rate would be reduced but ironically the government acted otherwise after the elections. He said that the tax collection machinery in the country was quite corrupt and thus needed to be reformed and made autonomous.
In response to various questions, the PTI’s MNA said that Pakistan needed development professionalism to ascertain the actual needs of the people. He said that after debt servicing and allocations as defence budget expenditures, nothing was left for development sector. Therefore, revenue collection needed to be enhanced but it should be done through direct tax imposition. ‘It’s quite ironic that the Wealth Tax in Pakistan was abolished that was another example of how policies were being made to facilitate only the elite of the country.
Earlier, Dr Vaqar Ahmad, Deputy Executive Director SDPI, highlighted the importance of creating tax harmonization between the federal and provincial tax systems. He said that the recent research carried out by SDPI suggested that all the provinces have different tax rates and most try to tax the same shrinking sources of income and wealth – thus leading to additional burden on already taxed sectors. He also presented Asad Umar a detailed document comprising the budget recommendations compiled by SDPI during its countrywide consultation with different stakeholders.