The imposition of regulatory duties ranging from 5% to 25% on non-essential imports in principle is a good step, provided quantity of import bill will reduce. The contradiction within announcement is that on one hand the Finance Ministry expects reduction in imports by $2 Billion, while on other hand it expects to increase revenues by over Rs40 Billion from regulatory duties . The consumers of these luxury imported items are beneficiaries of black economy who have abundance of cash to buy these items. The other factors are repetitive amnesty schemes, such as one given for import of luxury foreign vehicles, not just by this government, but by Shaukat Aziz and Zardari regimes. 

Revenue generation which can contribute to growth in economy and employment, while boosting exports can only be achieved by levying direct taxation on all sources of income and providing affordable electricity for industry and agriculture sector. As long as this environment exists, where investments in industry are being diverted to real estate business, because of the dazzle of almost tax free profits, this country’s economy will continue to deteriorate. The one sided Capacity Payment clauses inserted in Rental Power Projects and LNG scheme are also bleeding the economy. There seem to be no effort to curtail this abuse. 

Such broad daylight robberies can only take place with the connivance of corrupt bureaucracy and their political godfathers with their visible conflicts of interest. When those employed or elected to serve role of custodians of national exchequer become partners in financial crimes, than only drastic emergency punitive steps can save this country. 

What can be expected from an FBR whose Chairman does not consider Tax Evasion as corruption? Financial discipline and revenue generation can only take place if those at helm are held accountable and made to justify all their assets held in their name or in the name of their spouses and children both within Pakistan and abroad. Appointing incompetent controversial individuals with a known history of financial impropriety, who hold dual nationality, is a deliberate scheme to rob this country and transfer ill-gotten money through money laundering etc. This is what has driven state owned entities like National Bank, PSO, PIA, CAA etc to perpetual state of bankruptcy. 

MALIK TARIQ ALI,  

Lahore, October 21.