Published Date: Dec 5, 2019
Major chunk of Pakistan’s resources are being consumed by the ruling political, bureaucratic and military elites of the country and the government should take drastic measures to provide relief to the already tax-burdened masses.
These views were made by former Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Pasha at the 22nd Sustainable Development Conference and a panel discussion on “Pakistan Economy: Stabilization with a Human Face” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here Wednesday. The theme of the conference is ‘Sustainable Development in a Digital Society’.
Dr Pasha suggested the government should reduce electricity line losses and speed up privatization process to get rid of circular debt and losses incurred by the public sector enterprises.
He said, out of a total of Rs 3,800 billion taxes, Rs 2074 billion have been consumed by the elites. He said 22% of agricultural land belongs to feudal lords whereas they pay only Rs 2 billion of income tax. Dr Pasha said the government had no other option but to go to IMF. He said instead of focusing on increasing the share of direct taxes, the government is still relying on indirect taxes to achieve the revenue target.
Poverty level in Pakistan has increased from 36% to 40% in just one year, he said, adding that IMF gave all the major projections about the economy, but on poverty and unemployment, it is totally silent.
Dr Gonzalo Varela, Trade Economist of World Bank, said that the share of exports in the GDP is one of the lowest in the region. He said the government should provide level playing field to exporters so that they might enhance exports. Earlier, Dr Jochen Hippler, FES Country Director, said economy doesn’t have human face, but at the same time it has two faces which are economy and society and both are interlink.