Asset 1

Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

Bilal Hussain


Published Date: Jun 7, 2021

Why Pakistan should widen its tax base

Experts have warned the government against overburdening the existing taxpayers as they claim it lacks a robust strategy for expanding the tax base in the next budget, adding that attaining the tax collection target for next year will be a challenging task.

“The government does not appear to have any out-of-the-box ideas for expanding tax base,” analyst Hussain Haider said during a pre-budget discussion hosted by the Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI).

After collecting over Rs4 trillion in taxes in the outgoing financial year, government is reportedly planning to set a tax collection target of Rs 5.8 trillion for the next year.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has repeatedly said that the government would not further burden the existing taxpayers. However, experts were skeptical about the claim.

“Tarin’s claim looks unrealistic when seen in the context of the overall IMF programme and statements of some of the other officials,” Haider said.

Sakib Sherani, the former member of the prime minister’s Economic Advisory Council, said that the tax collection in the outgoing year was remarkable, but it had not come from widening of the tax base.

He said one reason is that the IMF programme leaves little bandwidth for the FBR to focus on other sectors that have been out of the tax net.

Sherani said that “automatic growth because of tax elasticity and expected increase in GDP growth” may take next year’s tax collection to about Rs5.3 trillion, but taking that further to meet government’s target of Rs5.8 trillion or IMF demand of collecting Rs5.9 trillion would be very challenging.

Dr Vaqar Ahmed of the Joint Executive Director Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) opined that the Rs5.8 trillion target may not be such a longshot because of expected revival of economic activity, the government’s plan to achieve growth rate of 4.8% and possible increase in oil and commodity prices.

He too, however, worried that much of the collection so far was coming through indirect taxes, while the government was still lagging behind in collecting direct taxes.

“Indirect taxes have implications for poorer sections of the society and the middle class,” he maintained.

Dr. Ahmed also emphasised the need for harmonisation of the tax regime and provincial governments making their tax machinery more efficient to dig deeper into tax bases.

Kamran Nasir, the CEO of the JS Global Capital, cautioned that failure to expand the tax base would land the government in problems. He said taxes should be sustainable and allow businesses to expand.

He also called for cutting government expenses. “It appears from the government’s current spending tendency that curtailing expenditures is low on its priority. Money in many departments is not being well spent,” he remarked.

Muhammad Asim, the chief investment officer at MCB, stressed the documentation of the economy. He praised the government’s strategy for growth in exports.

Faran Rizvi, an analyst, said government should learn from the boom-bust cycles of the past and try to make the growth more sustainable. He also underscored the need for rationalisation of taxes.

IPI Executive Director Prof Sajjad Bokhari said that notwithstanding the government’s claim about achieving a 3.9% GDP growth rate, there are questions to be raised about the basis, quality, and sustainability of this growth.