Economic resurgence

Pakistan is facing a vicious debt crisis which has multiplied because of expanding population and stagnant revenue collection due to massive income tax evasion, coupled with reckless expenditure and ease with which foreign exchange is being transferred abroad. The country received injections of foreign aid under military rule for fighting proxy wars starting from Ayub to Zia and Musharraf, but instead of investing in developing human resources and industrial growth, with emphasis on transfer of technology, the elite resorted to unnecessary imports, and leading ostentatious lifestyle. If building housing societies on forest or agriculture green belts were the yardstick, Pakistan should be a leading economic giant. Add to this involvement of statutory state institutions getting involved in real estate business, transforming forest and agriculture producing land into concrete jungles, leading to reduction in agriculture produce; it was perfect recipe for disaster.
The economic mess this country faces requires serious {re-}thought by all stakeholders, if long term survival were a priority. Countries with almost negligible natural reserves, such as Japan or Germany, are leading economic powers, because they invested in human resource development. Their GDP is double that of major oil producing nations. If we are to seriously evaluate national security, our sole defence deterrence today is our nuclear capability, courtesy work and commitment of a few scientists and engineers who made all this possible. We must appreciate role of ZAB who laid down foundations for achieving this objective at a great personal risk.
It is in the nature of traders and businessmen to invest in projects with attractive returns and least taxation. This fatal attraction led to shut down of industries and diversion to real estate business. Strict financial discipline and transparency must be enforced and realization that specialists in various fields must replace this decadent civil bureaucracy.
MALIK T ALI
Lahore

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