Tax revenues are the people’s money and they have the right to hold governments accountable. The civil society has been actively engaged in the early stages of formulation of the budget for targeting sectors. The civil society has suggested options to the federal government at the preparedness stage which will definitely improve the effectiveness of budget allocations in different sectors.
It is commonly believed that the language of the budget is hardly understandable to parliamentarians, the civil society, and common people. The first step should be to explain budget terminologies and do away with jargons in the document.
Before giving suggestions to the upcoming budget, clarity about term “budget” along with snapshot/analysis of/on current political and economic situations of the country seems necessary. Budget is the true reflection of the government policy and priorities. It shows the directions where the government is going to collect and where it is going to inject”.
Allocation of budget to different sectors in Pakistan is such that non-development expenditures and debt repayment are higher than the development expenditure.
This practice seems to be true again in the upcoming budget as it has been announced that defence budget will be increased by 18pc this year. In addition, large number of ministries still makes up large chunks of budget. Negligence of the government in dividing the budget proportionately to different regions of the country can be seen as a problem. FATA, KP, and southern parts of Punjab are still least developed regions of Pakistan. In the backdrop of this scenario, the common man believes budget in our country is not made considering our needs.
According to a recent report on Pakistan by the World Bank, the budget deficit is going to increase. Many reasons have been identified for this. Floods decreased the capacity of the government to generate budget revenues. Terrorism and floods led to low-revenue generation of Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR). Many believe that floods did not affect the industrial capacity but industrial production depends on agriculture produce.
Whenever there are economic constraints, development expenditure has to face cuts. The allocated development budget has been cut three times due to different reasons while flood rehabilitation is one of them. Revenue gaps are always filled by cutting down development expenditures.
Developed countries’ allocation of the budget for the development sector is an eye-opener. The US’s defence expenditure allocation is highest in the world but it complies only 10-15 percent of its budget. In our country, a complete reverse is the case.
Government policies have not supported an environment of investment in the country. Absence of proper policy measures by the government has hit the common man, which would definitely not strengthen revenue generation in the upcoming budget.
Poverty in Pakistan is increasing day by day. As data on poverty has not been collected for so many years, it has been estimated that poverty rate reached at 80 percent a
This article was originally published at: The News
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.