Published Date: Apr 23, 2019
Punjab Govt to unveil ‘Bahimmat Social Protection scheme for senior citizen, Hashim Jawan Bakht Reviving confidence among public and the market is the major challenge for Govt, Dr Abid Broad base political consensus can help the Govt to correct the economic morass, Pasha IMF destroyed our tax system, Shahid Kardar
Finance minister Punjab, Hashim Jawan Bakht on Tuesday said that in an effort to provide social security and protection to our senior citizen of age 65 and above, the government of the Punjab is preparing ‘Bahimmat Social Protection’ scheme which will be launch soon. He said social protection programs should be large part of our medium and long term economic frameworks. The Punjab government in the forthcoming budget we will take care of the marginalized segment of the society and will allocate more resources in social protection funds.
He stated this at a pre-budget consultation and book launch titled “Growth & Inequality in Pakistan”, jointly organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Office Pakistan, on Tuesday at Lahore.
Hashim Jawan Bakht, said the provincial government is looking for out of the box solutions, such as materializing the public private partnership to help improve the governance and resource mobilization. He said there are some structural changes on expenditure side of the budget, such sticky expenditures of pensions, which swelled significantly and dictating our revenue allocations. In last seven years there were around 2048 billion rupees of PSDP spent in the whole Punjab, where 1048 billion rupees spent on Lahore only and 1000 billion rupees spent on rest of the Punjab, which created the regional inequalities, he added. He said we have to unlock our dead investment, which is land and should rationally utilize this crucial resource. The future is digital and digitization of the economy is the way forward for growth and development, he remarked.
Dr. Hafiz A. Pasha, renowned economist and former finance minister call upon the government for equal tax treatment for all citizen and no special groups including judges and army officials should be given tax exemptions. He said only a broad base political consensus on economy can help the government to get out of the economic quagmire, where all major political parties can agreed upon the common reforms agenda. He said the elite of the society who are enjoy extraordinary privileges within the legal framework of the country are largely responsible for current chaotic economic situation of the country. The quantum of the cost of state captured elite is whopping 2000 billion rupees, which can be used for social protection and wellbeing of the marginal and poor of the country, he added.
He said 18th amendment is one of the best ever thing happened in the federation of Pakistan which shows the unity in diversity. If fiscal federalism happened in the 60s, we may not have lost East-Pakistan, he lamented. Dr Pasha revealed that the actual cost of war on terror was quantify over 252 billion dollar, which was wrongly calculated in Pakistan Economy Survey and eight times higher the financial support provided by the international community. While commenting to water crisis, he said, Pakistan’s water usage efficiency is the 2nd lowest in the world, where we need to rationalize the crop production.
Executive Director, SDPI, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said amid post cabinet reshuffling the federal as well as provincial governments need to focus on how to revive confidence among public and the market, which is being deteriorated over time. He said the major challenges for the government is to provide relief in the forthcoming federal and provincial budgets, negotiations with IMF and the conclusion of FATF conditions. To achieve the macroeconomic stability and overcoming the economic crisis, government has to improve its relations with the opposition, he added.
Former Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Shahid Hafeez Kardar, said International Monitory Fund (IMF) is main culprit behind the destruction of our tax and revenue collection system at the very basic level, which cannot be fixed in 3 years and would require long period to fix the morass. He said inequality in the society is mainly because of the structure of the economy, where growth rate was confined to financial sector, IT sector, telecom and automobile sector and by define we ignored large unskilled and poor segment of society.
Fauzia Viqar, Chairperson, Punjab Commission on the Status of Women said gender equality is a fundamental human right and foundation for sustainable development of the country. She said according to the recent global gender gap index by World Economic Forum (WEF) Pakistan ranked the bottom on the basis of multiple indicators including women access to economic opportunity. To achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth we need to empower our women and women should be facilitated in access to financial services, which include credit, and allow them to take independent decisions, she added.
Abdul Qadir, Senior Advisor, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) said there is a need for comprehensive debate on budget formulation process in Pakistan, where economic discourse at the grass root level is still weak. He said our universities need to play a role in actively delivering new research to economic ministries and departments. In this regard, ‘Economy of Tomorrow’ programme invites proposals from all stakeholders which can then be communicated to the federal and provincial governments, he added.