Budget making & economic crisis
Traditional sources who pay income tax are the low income groups, wage earners, salaried class, or the low and well to do middle classes, and some business houses and industries but not as much as they should. The traditional tax paying public cannot be mad to eke out any more in these abnormal times.
The filthy rich of the country, the wadera, the land baron, the high and mighty of the country do not pay income tax The published accounts of Declaration of Assets and Taxes paid by the Members of the Parliament have proved this as a fact or confession of the political bosses.. It is now imperative that new sources of income tax are made to pay the income tax they should pay. Can this down and out group be made to pay income taxes? The problem is that the Parliament is controlled by these filthy rich political or land barons, they dominate the Cabinets, they pull the string in the country to get their way. Pakistan is not democracy because common men does not get elected, does not become ministers etc. Pakistan is the rule of filthy rich. This why about four crores or forty million bogus votes were got cast in the last General Elections on the results of which the rulers boast of “public’s mandate” given to them, incidentally to do whatever their sweet wishes want
These problems could have been managed if the incumbent Government was not worried for its survival because it did not have majority in the House. Its coalition partner too are interested to have their share in the spoils and the seats in the cabinets. - ministers are only dealing wheeling persons with no technical knowledge. The country’s problems are left to nincompoop politicians. .There are no scientists, no energy experts, no economist etc. So public money is used to buy political support, not welfare projects.
The big hole in the budget is the inordinate expenditure on the present Government .It is the costliest government in Pakistan’s history. Even after allowing for the fall in the value of the Rupee, comparing the expense on previous Presidents and Prime Ministers one would be shocked at the geometric progression of the expenditure on their present incumbents, their staff, their entertainment allowance, the cost of upkeep of their residences, on their trips abroad, their overseas medical treatments , etc .With my apologies hundred times, they live the life of the most lavishly living Graet Mughal , for their have been frugal Great Mughals like Emperor Aurangzeb, whose income was limited to his selling caps stitched by him and writing of the Holy Quran he caligraphed. Coming to Pakistan’s own example, will somebody compare the strength of the Quaid’s, Liaquat’s , “military dictator” Ayub’s , Zia’s. personal staff with present day’s president and prime minister. There is need for drastic reduction in the budget – drastic means reducing expenditure of the big shots of the Government to the bare minimum , say by about sixty per cent at least.
The trips abroad of the high ups should be far and few in between I would suggest that the Finance Minister hunt out from the archives the study made by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 1965/66 under the instructions of then Foreign Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to submit proposals on “ What can we do to live without American aid , and specific proposals in this regard.” . I have drawn attention to this report many times but no avail..I saw it in 1966 on my return from Tokyo assignment when I took over as Director General , Policy Planning in the Foreign Office. One of the points in the questions ZAB had posed was about curtailing to send delegations to international conferences. It was suggested in that Report that we should use the nearest Pak embassies to represent/negotiate in such cases. Please search out this document and act on it. Even then, if President or PM has to visit a foreign country, their entourages should emulate the examples of ‘military dictator’ Ayub Khan who took only a delegation of four or five to his state visits, say to France, or of Liaquat Ali Khan whose delegation to US was limited to Begum Liaquat- a former Professor of Economics and founder – President of APWA- and Foreign Secretary Mr. Ikramullah . Our embassy in Washington provided Service staff, its Military Attaché, Brigadier Raza as PM’s Military Secretary, local embassy’s Press Minister as his press officer etc Prof A.S. Bokhari, then Pak Representative to UN was PM’s speech writer .. An Embassy is meant to provide such services abroad to high delegations from its country. ZAB had the Report prepared on how to live within our own means when America had applied sanctions on Pakistan during 1965 India-Pak War. I read this Report in 1967 on return from Tokyo to be a D.G in the Foreign Office. It was quite a lengthy document. Our high ups are billionaire and multi-millionaire and do not need huge public funds to maintain themselves They can satisfy their wandering lust on their own expenses also Summit level discussions are not routine matters It is once a while when they are required They are not meant for good will or signing routine business agreements. Normal negotiations is the work of the ambassador or at most of the concerned minister.
With due apologies to those concerned, I would say that the greatest hole in our economy is the lavish spending of the incumbent regime all round. I may be forgiven for my impudence to point out these facts only in national interest May I say that the words economizing on spending. public money, or “financial proprietary”, do not exist in the dictionary of the high and mighty.. May I have the “audacity” to say that the present regime has removed the distinction between expenditure on party purposes and government expenditure.
There is feather bedding in the Government departments. .Persons are appointed whether required or not, whether they have the technical qualifications or not in jobs just to please party workers. They are stuffed at all levels from high up to the lowest level .The government employees are several times more than needed. Now we have in the new coalition government ten more ministers and same number of ministers of state due to . Political bargaining no doubt but unnecessary stuffing. Now otherwise too government posts are created for political favorites,. Favoritism and nepotism are order of the day more than in other countries practiced by other political parties as well but not so much..
It is obvious that in the present situation, we will not be able to produce an innovative budget moving the country towards self reliance Again we would be depending heavily on foreign aid. Pity the Government had to pay a heavy price for the new shaky coalition .Finance Minister’s hands will be tied as usual.