Pakistan must crackdown on corruption: UAE daily

February 11th, 2011 - 11:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Abu Dhabi, Feb 11 (IANS/WAM) Pakistan must ensure the best use of its limited resources as the country is heavily dependent on foreign aid, a leading UAE newspaper said Friday.”Smaller cabinet is a welcome move that will entice those who seek to help the country”, Gulf News said, commenting on the downsizing of the Pakistani cabinet Friday.

The resignation of an unnecessarily large Pakistani cabinet to pave the way for a smaller one was a move in the right direction, but this is least of the government’s worries, the paper stated.

The downsizing follows the International Monetary Fund’s stern warning in December against fiscal slippage as Pakistan’s cavernous budget deficit continued to widen amid higher government spending, weak tax revenue and the ongoing battle against extremists and Taliban-affiliated groups in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and major cities, noted the paper.

The government has recently raised its budget deficit forecast to 4.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, from its prior projection of 4 percent. Economists expect the fiscal deficit to widen to as much as 8 percent in the current fiscal year, the paper cited.

“But as most Pakistanis can attest, these accounts can be tackled if there was a serious drive by the government to root out corruption in official departments and those affiliated with the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party”, it said.

But, unfortunately, as in many other developing countries, corruption is taking a heavy toll on that aid which, as recent reports showed, doesn’t often reach its intended target, noted the paper.

Having a smaller cabinet and lean bureaucracy will certainly entice those who seek to help Pakistan, the paper stated in its editorial, adding: “But they cannot live with corruption”.

The Pakistani government needs to show it is serious in eradicating the phenomenon and assure donors, especially its close friends and allies, that their efforts make a difference, the Gulf News stated.

–IANS/WAM
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