Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Without practicing austerity – reviving economy is a joke

A country with 7.283 trillion deficit budget is supposed to move cautiously and ensure that money is spent judiciously and not a pie is spent which falls in the category of wasteful expenditure. It was very disturbing to see half page coloured advertisement carrying photo of Prime Minister with caption “Karkardgi kay 100 days”. On the top of the paper it also says 18% GST to be imposed on packaged food items effective 01 July spills the beans. A judge never speaks it is the judgement that speaks but not the tickers, likewise efficiency of the government is measured through good governance that should be visible but not through the advertisements. It is not known who advised our PM to give this advertisement.
Certainly he is not his well-wisher. Just imagine country nearing default indulging in such a luxury of highly expensive advertisement that runs in millions of rupees speaks volumes of government’s austerity claims. Public money spent on self-projection is highly condemnable. Progress of country is not measured through highly paid advertisements with PM photo but it depends on overall good governance and the condition of poor people, who even do not get clean drinking water when they see their rulers spending money lavishly they go in further depression
I remember former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar in the year 2017 had made observation on such advertisements displaying rulers picture as it was considered misuse of public money and it should be avoided but who cares. Look at the 2024-25 budget
tough tax measures have been imposed to generate more revenue. With 18.887 total outlay with 7.283 trillion deficit you are left with 11.604 trillion. While allocating 2.122 trillion for defence, Rs 9.775 debt service if we add up these two figures it comes to Rs 11.897 trillion whereas you are left with 11.604 showing deficit of Rs 0.893 trillion. This simply reflects any other expenditure that includes PSDP, salaries, pensions, provinces share, and other related government functionaries. This deficit will be received through indirect taxes and borrowings from banks and printing additional loads. Under this pathetic state of economy what was the justification in increasing pay and pension. In spite of increase in salary the
salaried class is overburdened due to newly introduced tax slabs that have equally hit the poor salaried emplyees. The tax exemption should have been raised from Rs 6 lac to 10 lacs.
Government has raised sale tax on almost every item thus hitting mostly poor people who are already suffering under high inflation. Surprisingly
sales tax has also been imposed on stationary items, this is cruel it should be exempted considering 22.5 million children out of school. Fuel adjustment charges included each month in power bill is “Jagga Tax” this should be stopped
90% revenue is collected through indirect taxes thus creating problems for poor people as they have to pay same tax as is being paid by high salaried person. There is a greater need of reducing indirect taxes and increasing direct taxes to provide relief to poor. Austerity starts from the top therefore, without practicing austerity revival of economy is joke and making mockery of the issue. In the words of Dr Shahid Hassan Siddiqui a renowned economist “Federal Budget protects interests of elites and ensures next IMF program will not be last one which could be collective suicide.

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