The economy of Pakistan has been stagnant for the last many years. Pressure from world donor agencies, low industrial output, law and order problem, and overall regional instability are a few reasons to be mentioned in this regard. Common man is fed up with ever swelling utility bills whereas indirect taxes and inflation have squeezed their income to the lowest ebb. This situation requires some urgent steps to increase the mobility of the economic wheel. The west generates economic activities by increasing the purchasing power of common man. When money is spent, it stimulates economic activities and when it is not, things come to a grinding halt.
If you give some money to the people to spend, in fact you get extra money from them in return. The money is returned in the forms of taxes, duties, and savings. If you squeeze their purchasing power to get more and more from them, you will actually slow down the pace of trade and industrial activities.
Peter and Paul method: The present economic system is based on “rob Peter to pay Paul.” The serving classes generate money and products, but it ekes out a meager existence whereas the trade and industrial classes enjoy privileges of life. The industrial tycoons believe in “head I win and tail you lose” theory. They run the economy and are able to divert money and resources toward their pockets. Meanwhile, the government’s tax after tax policy and ‘tough decisions’ have reduced their interest in Pakistan, paving the way for capital flight from the country and those who chose to stay back have marginalized their investment. Whatever the case may be, the working class is the ultimate loser.
Official buildings: Billions of rupees hard earned money is syphoned off from the national kitty every year to maintain some buildings. The Presidency, Prime Minister’s House, governor houses, chief ministers houses, and Chamba houses, are a few to be mentioned. When the British prime minister can live in a small flat, why not our beloved rulers could show the same spirit and curtail expenditures. What is the use of governor’s office when it has nothing to do with the public affairs? The governors’ houses cost billions of rupees per annum in each province.
The planes and vehicles: Vehicles worth billions of rupees roam the country’s roads on private businesses and petrol worth millions of rupees is consumed every day. Add planes and flying hours and the cost will be in billions. Private businesses are benevolently allowed to cost the exchequer billions of rupees in other heads also.
The conferences: The government invites foreign delegates and even ‘unwanted individuals,’ generously spending billions of rupees every year on them without taking least benefit from them. The money is extracted directly from tax-payers and indirectly from the poor on one excuse or the other. Hollywood actress Angelina Julie had slapped in the face of the government officials by sarcastic remarks when she was offered a superb dinner at the presidency during her visit to Islamabad for a charity work. The point is why the government planners benefit the aliens to earn loss and shame.
Guests are always welcome, but overspending on their receptions from the public funds is illogical. An army of guests should not be received.
Foreign tours: Our beloved masters are in the habit of invoking God’s blessing at the cost of public money. They could do the best for the nation if they stay back home and do something positive for the nation. Foreign tours, including hajjs and umras sponsored by the hard-earned money of the taxpayers often lack the element of sincerity.
Foreign missions: Foreign missions are essential, but their job should not be limited to issuing press releases and creating opportunities for their kith and kin. Give each department of the mission a target — say commercial attachés be given export targets — to earn foreign exchange. In modern diplomacy, slant should be on trade and investment rather than politics. Commercial ties are stronger than politico-religious ties.
Corruption: You name a government institution and it is privatised — unofficially as corruption has been institutionalised. In the prevailing pay scales, ask your financial wizards to prepare a house budget for a common man and he will fail. Giving authority to the underpaid government officials will destroy the institutions as the government has recently done by legislating on the issues of electricity and gas theft. These kinds of government steps will serve no purpose, but will increase the rates of bribery.
The manpower: It is the power waiting for exploitation. Pakistan is benevolently an over-populated country where human resources can be exploited to attain economic prosperity. More the people, more you need food, housing and lodging facilities and other human requirements. The indigenous industries do not need to look toward other countries for export when they have lot of potential at home.
The west has adopted a dual policy toward the third world nations. In fact, the western nations are in want of manpower as they are under populated due to break in their social and family systems. They prepare tough laws every year to stop ‘unwanted entrants’ but welcome young blood thanks to loopholes they intentionally maintain in their legal systems. They have explored the importance of manpower.
Pakistani assets: According to reports, Pakistanis have billions of dollars in foreign banks. The government should make sincere efforts to bring it back.
Circulation of money brings prosperity and its accumulation an economic disaster. Money is the blood of the economy; therefore, the government should make sure it reaches every vital and remote organ of the body. Death of a tissue can lead to the death of the whole body. More the purchasing power, more the economic activities as input is equal to output. So either multiply salaries or slash the utility bills to the minimum. Mr prime minister, figure it out as a reformist and take risk as a businessman.