Improving the economy

Pakistan is at a crossroads. The country needs a large loan to pay off our debts that have accumulated over the past 10 years. Currently our country’s exports are far less than our imports and this imbalance is increasing the pressure on our foreigners exchange every year.
First of all is to control our imports and export imbalance we need to reign in on imports. Under WTO rules many new items are being imported into Pakistan. These include luxurious food and drinks and other luxury items whose import should be immediately stopped. Under WTO Pakistan cannot stop the import of any item but we can increase the tax and customer duty to help reduce import of targeted items like canned goods, imported chocolates and other non essential items. Processed foods industry should be established by providing incentives.
Secondly we need to increase govt revenue. Besides increasing the tax base from less than 1% of our population to at least 50%. The recent amnesty scheme has highlighted this problem even more. In the amnesty scheme 90% amnesty was on wealth that is already in Pakistan and owned by taxpayers who had hidden it from FBR over the past decade. This highlights the failure of FBR in increasing tax base or even maintaining their current tax base. FBR is an important organization for our country’s future and therefore Government should ensure that only honest officers are inducted and monitoring and audit of FBR staff should be regularly conducted through secret third parties.
Emphasize should be made to capture tax from companies rather than salaries. In the past decade we have read about many cases of foreign companies caught in embezzlement of tax. Therefore improving the performance of FBR can make a big difference for the future of Pakistan. Similarly every government department should work towards reducing their costs and increasing their revenue.
For example While looking at record of Pakistan Printing Press one will find that 70% of their budget goes for staff salary while the organization is unable to fulfil its sole purpose of printing for Government due to faulty and old machinery. Austerity measures by putting cap on %age of revenue of an organization going towards salaries will help reduce wastage. Pakistan has 5th largest population in the World, we as a nation can show the World that we can not only build our own mega dams, we can also pay back our loans.
SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER
Peshawar

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