(February 26, 2020)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said the scarcity of facilities like clean drinking water, health, education, food and employment is not as much linked to want of resources as tied to unfair distribution of wealth.
A small group of nobility has accumulated a major chunk of wealth and there is no end to their greed which is fanning poverty, restlessness and conflicts, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that masses will have faith in the government when all the sectors are taxed, the tax burden is equally distributed and rich are targeted sparing the poor.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that last year’s budget deficit was Rs3445 billion despite a cut of Rs650 billion in development spending.
The former minister noted that the FBR’s target for 2019-20 was Rs5503 billion which was revised downward but the collections were down by 43 percent during the first six months of the current fiscal.
IMF has refused to revise the tax target downward, therefore, FBR will have to enhance collections by 54 percent in the last six months of the current fiscal which is impossible.
The full-year shortfall of FBR is set to jump to Rs750 billion while high interest rates will continue to increase the cost of debt servicing.
The debt servicing cost jumped by 39 percent in 2018-19 while it has jumped to 46 percent in the first six months of the current fiscal which will be increased in the last six months.
The centre and provinces have spent only 28 percent of the funds allocated for PSDP and the trend can persist during the last six months.
He said that problems can be resolved in nobility is taxed properly, unjustified tax exemptions are withdrawn, direct tax is preferred over indirect taxation which has never remain a priority for any government.
Mian Zahid said that the issues with IMF should be sorted out without delay as suspension or cancellation of programme will result in immediate repatriation of three billion dollars attracted through high interest rates which will fan economic instability.