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Pakistan Observer

Published Date: Jun 23, 2013

Govt cannot afford popular measures

Sustainable
Development Policy Institute organised a special post-budget seminar, ‘Federal
Budget 2013-14: An Overview.’ MNA Dr Arif Alvi from PTI, Senator Saeed Ghani
from PPP, MNA Arfa Khalid, Qaiser A Sheikh from PML-N, Dr. Abid Qayyum Suleri,
Executive Director, SDPI and Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Deputy Executive Director, SDPI
spoke on the occasion. Speaking as key note speaker, Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri,
Executive Director, SDPI said keeping in view the present economic situation
budget presented by any party at this time would have been the same.

He
added that "Pakistan’s is facing enormous macroeconomic challenges which hardly
leave any fiscal cushion for the government to be innovative or to take popular
measures." He said the government has indicated to get bailout package from IMF
and therefore measures such as implementation of GST and reforms in power
sector and Public Sector Enterprises were introduced to give a clear message to
IMF. "Measures for adjustment taxation would help in documentation of the
economy, and people will be encouraged to register with the FBR. Likewise, the
continuation of the income support programme would satisfy the IMF’s demand for
social safety nets so that the adverse effects of structural reforms can be
reduced for poor people," he added.

Dr
Suleri lamented that all the provinces had presented deficit budgets which
shows fiscal irresponsibility on the part of provinces particularly after
receiving major chunk in federal divisible pool. He said provinces must have
given surplus budgets by improving provincial tax to GDP ratio and reducing
expenditure. He concluded that although economic situation is not very
promising but the new government can at least bridge the trust deficit of people,
donors and international community by introducing transparency and good
governance.