By Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
The federal government of Imran Khan is facing a grim financial situation, much greater than was expected at the time of general elections held in July. The economic team was underestimating the seriousness of the issue but when they were in and received briefings from the departments concerned it dawned upon them that the reality was much more bitter than expected. Now that they are at the helm of affairs they have to deal with the situation at any cost. The solution to face it has wisely been sought in the experience of the People’s Republic of China by eradicating corruption based on their methodology but our economic systems are quite different. What works there may not work here as they have got the will and we have not got such tools and determination as our people are divided into classes, sects, ethnic identities, political affiliations, vested interests, war lords, disgruntled neighbours etc. The fact stands there that punishment for corruption will take long time as investigation is required for it. There must be certain immediate steps to be taken which include the minimizing of government expenditure, luxury items and unnecessary visits of the ministers and officials that has been introduced but not with full force and the Aid from friendly countries will help to support but that cannot be counted upon for long but at the same time much more can be done such as:
1. Imposition of duty on NCP vehicles that run on the roads but pay nothing to the exchequer.
2. Minimize consumption of FUEL and declare one OFF day for all private vehicles.
3. Petrol rationing be introduced for private vehicles. There are millions of rich people who own many vehicles and all run on the roads, mostly uselessly. Each car owner should be given a limited amount of petrol for a week on card system. This will reduce consumption of petrol hence import of this item which increases every year and costs more dollars to be spent on it.
4. Luxury items of all types should be under heavier taxation.
5. The allowances given to government servants at high level should be revoked and all the government servants must be treated equally. Those in higher grades receive extra allowances with different denominations and extra ordinary rate of TA/DA but those in lower grades get nothing or something which is negligible.
6. Overuse of LPG/ CNG be controlled and extravagant use of these material be put on rationing system as we are facing economic emergency and in Emergencies rationing system is a common phenomenon. Expeditious measures have to be taken rather half hearted steps that will not work in the situations we face today.
7. High tax per pilgrim on second and more Haj and Umra visits for Sunnis and Shiites and tax on all Ismaili adults on the occasion of Dedaar of their Imam while in Pakistan.
8. High tax on arms licences
9. Double or triple tax on shooting licences.
These taxes will not affect the low income group but the well-to-do elements can afford them.
By Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig