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Published Date: May 27, 2013

SDPI Press Release (May 27, 2013)

Underlining
the need for economic empowerment of marginalized women in upcoming budget, the
experts at a SDPI seminar have demanded tax breaks for divorced, disabled and
never married women in Pakistan.

The
speakers were of the view that such tax incentives can reduce financial burden
from excluded group of women and they can have a better way of life with more
freedom and where they can positively play their role in a more productive way
in the society.

The
experts were speaking at a seminar on “Tax Break for Economic Freedom: The Case
of Divorced Mothers, Divorced Disabled and Never Married Women in Pakistan”
organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.

In
her remarks, Dr Rakhshinda Perveen, Executive Director, Sachet highlighted the
plight of divorced, disabled and never married women particularly over the age
of 40, which she said are extremely neglected segment of the society.
Advocating for their economic empowerment she expressed that these women
have lesser options for a socially respectable life, obtaining their rights
within household or getting married and settling peacefully.

She
expressed that this group is in dire need of policy intervention and government
must revisit the taxation with focus on providing relief to this excluded group
of women keeping in mind the stigma, discrimination and social poverty these
women have to face in the society. She said that proposed tax break would not
only serve as one of the means of freedom from stigma and servitude by
restoring and enhancing their self-esteem but also dilute different layers of
discrimination in a patriarchal society and culture.

Speaking
on the occasion, Professor Dr. Huma Ibrahim, Deputy Vice President,
African Literature Association, USA endorsed the idea of tax break which she
said was very much practical and a step in right direction.

Dr
Usman Mustafa, Senior Economist at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics
(PIDE) said that such tax breaks would cost very little cutback in overall tax
collection but can substantially benefit the excluded women group. He said that
no charity, zakat or donation can substitute the respectable, dignified, and
honorable way of support from government particularly in the form of tax
rationalization or reforms.

He
lamented the fact that tax system in Pakistan lacks redistributive function
which is achieved by taxing the rich and devoting revenues to provide services
to the disadvantaged. He concluded his remarks by calling for detailed research
on how such tax break can positively contribute to empowering excluded groups
in the country.