Positive outlook of economy

WORLD financial institutions have continuingly been pouring in with upbeat remarks about economic strides made by Pakistan over the last about three years. Before that – the era of Pakistan People’s Party between 2008 and 2013 – was a total mess as poor macro economic policies, bad governance and fiscal indiscipline had almost taken the country to the position of default. Since the assumption of power by the PML (N), things have turned around. Though some tough decisions were taken that also hurt the common people, these helped to put the economy on the path of stability so much that the world institutions are also now coming up with applause for this.
In its latest flagship annual economic report, the ADB has declared Pakistan’s economic outlook positive giving the happy news that the economy will continue to pick up in the current year due to stabilization measures. The report has also indicated towards a host of challenges impeding the true growth potential, i.e. losses of public sector enterprises, insufficient energy and security concern. In our view, one of the key challenges standing in the face of economy is the low revenue collection. Though some steps have been taken to enhance tax base but they really have not paid off yet. Take for instance, the tax amnesty scheme for traders. The scheme which came into effect on the 1st of February had only managed to bring 7,700 non filers to the tax net so far against the government target of one million traders while collection from them currently stands at about Rs 730 million. More depressing situation for the government is that the number of income tax return filers has dropped to 925,000 which are about 120.000 less than the previous year. All these figures indicate that nobody especially those with high incomes are ready to pay the taxes and thus putting the economy into peril. Situation warrants that the government takes necessary steps such as bringing reforms in the tax collection system and lowering tax rates in order to enhance tax base. Being patriotic citizens, it is also our responsibility to pay taxes honestly to achieve the objective of self-reliance and sustainable development.

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