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Published Date: Mar 21, 2018

Political parties urged to study country’s economy

Participants in a consultative session on Tuesday were of the view that political stability and continuation of socio-economic policies was the only way to put Pakistan on the road to prosperity.
They also urged the political parties to study well the country’s economy, devise a viable plan and strategy for economic growth and include the same in their manifestos.
The discussion titled “Possible economic agenda for elections” was organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) at a local hotel.
Possible economic agenda for elections discussed
“Emphasis on agriculture, water security and skill development alongwith broadened tax base and a corruption-free tax system are the factors to ensure appropriate resource mobilisation in Pakistan,” said an MPA from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Dr. Nausheen Hamid, while speaking on the occasion.
She was of the view that the youth bulge could be utilised efficiently through job provision and access to social services.
Ms Natasha Daultana from PPP-P expressed concern over ignoring the agriculture sector by the government.
She suggested that economic manifesto of political parties must include provision of subsidies to small farmers and cut in indirect taxes.
She also emphasised the need for women empowerment with the provision of funds through alternate credit scoring mechanisms.
Sarfraz Ahmed Khan from Jamaat-i-Islami highlighted the issue of water scarcity and the need to build additional reservoirs and urged the parties to take up the matter seriously by getting the problem included in the government policy framework.
Engineer Ahad Nazir, SDPI’s project coordinator, urged the political parties to focus on three major issues.
“First, the cost of energy needs to be rationalised through establishment of efficient energy infrastructure which may result in reduction of relevant surcharges and other levies. Second, the federal and provincial tax regime needs to be simplified and other number of taxes on SMEs may be reduced in order to make it easy for the SMEs to graduate towards larger corporations. There is a need for tax reforms which may result in lesser tax authorities optimising the cost of doing business” he said.
Third, he focused on the need of availability of quality skilled labour force particularly to meet the demands of the growing manufacturing sector and special economic zones under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Reviving the agriculture and livestock sector, farmers must be protected from indirect and withholding mode of taxation. To promote local and foreign investment across all sectors, there is a need to reform the system of corporate taxes, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, businesswoman Nasira Taskeen sought broadening the tax network and requested the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) not to pressurise the existing taxpayers through various tactics. She urged the government to also bring the agriculture sector and farmers into tax network.
Business reporter Ali Khizar said since the government had almost overcome the energy crisis, it should now focus on the upgradation of power transmission and distribution system so that the consumers could be supplied with uninterrupted electricity.