Our Staff Reporter
Published Date: Sep 19, 2017
Experts demands removal of anomalies in tax systems
ISLAMABAD – Experts on Monday noted that inequality is a major contributing factor in keeping millions of people across the globe trapped in the poverty; Pakistan is no exception when it comes to the ever increasing gap between the haves and have-nots.
The current situation demands the right policy reforms, especially to redress and remove anomalies in the existing tax systems, said Oxfam CEO Mark Goldring during the seminar ‘Can we eradicate poverty without tackling inequality?’ held by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), in collaboration with Oxfam.
The event was attended by academics, heads of NGOs and UN organisations, civil society members, donors, Oxfam partners, think tank, government officials and mainstream media representatives. During the keynote address, Goldring said “Eight billionaires own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who form the poorest half of the world’s population. Inequality is not only keeping millions of people trapped in poverty, it is fracturing our societies and poisoning our politics.”
Last year, Oxfam said the world’s 62 richest billionaires were as wealthy as half the world’s population. However, the number has dropped to eight in 2017 because new information shows that poverty in China and India is worse than previously thought, making the bottom 50 percent even worse off and widening the gap between rich and poor. Goldring was of the opinion that narrowing the gap between the richest and the rest requires a more human economy; one that does not result in 1 percent of the world’s population owning the same wealth as the other 99 percent.
Dr Vaqar Ahmad, Executive Director of SDPI, presented an outlook of inequalities in the context of Pakistan and said “Our indirect tax system is aggressive and biased towards the lower income groups of the society”. To rationalise the indirect taxation, Dr Vaqar said the provinces should come forward to move for direct tax collection on different sectors of economy. The vertical and horizontal implications of inequality are also important. “In the case of latter we see that gender disparity has been a significant challenge for our society as a whole,” he added.
Oxfam Country Director Muhammad Qazilbash in his welcome note explained that that the mounting inequality, poverty and discriminatory tax policies had made the lives of the people in Pakistan miserable. He said, “Oxfam is calling for urgent action to tackle the inequality crisis and reverse the dramatic fall in wealth of the poorest half of the world.
He sid that Oxfam envisioned a just world without poverty and would continue to advocate for fairer tax policies and redistribution of wealth.