Pakistani daily wants tough fiscal, tax reforms

April 13th, 2012 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, April 13 (IANS) The Pakistani government must implement “tough fiscal and tax reforms, improve governance and revamp the entire state structure simultaneously”, said a leading daily as it sought “sacrifices from the elite”.

An editorial in the Dawn Friday made a scathing remark: “Our policymakers seem to take the public as a naďve set of people.”

According to reports, the finance ministry has finalised the broad contours of the federal budget for the next financial year and a cursory reading “makes it abundantly clear that the budget-makers are once again ready to set targets that will not be, and cannot be, achieved, at least not without implementing the hard but necessary governance and fiscal reforms”.

The economic growth target is being set at 4.2 percent, it said and wondered: “How will this be achieved when the country is facing a severe energy crisis that is forcing industrial closures and job and production losses, and costing the economy 2.5 to three per cent of GDP every year?”

Terming as “unrealistic” the raising of the tax revenue target by 20 percent, it noted: “…the government is not ready to tax the untaxed and under-taxed sectors of the economy.”

It went on to say that the fiscal deficit target is also set at 4.2 percent of GDP against an average deficit of about six percent since 2008.

“It cannot be achieved without raising tax revenues as well as eliminating massive energy subsidies and plugging the enormous leakages in the limited financial resources of state-owned enterprises.

“Setting unrealistic and unachievable targets will only widen the trust deficit between the rulers and the ruled.”

It added that “a concerted effort and long-term planning is required to bring the economy back on the track of growth and provide relief to a public that is burdened by rising food and energy prices”.

“It demands sacrifices from the elite. That means the government will have to implement tough fiscal and tax reforms, improve governance and revamp the entire state structure simultaneously.”

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