The IMF has become a perfect punching bag for everybody, including those who are the biggest tax defaulters, members of powerful political elite and civil or khaki bureaucracy, who would never allow the economy to be documented, because this would curtail institutionalized corruption and prevent flight of capital. Corruption thrives in Pakistan, because government machinery benefits by helping them evade the law.
What is wrong if IMF asks the government to hike ‘TAX to GDP’ ratio, as is done in all developed and developing countries? In such countries details about sources of income, assets, ownership of movable and immovable property, criminal and immigration record are all documented and available. All business, charitable organization, religious organization cannot move or transfer funds without first registering with state regulatory body which linked to the central date collecting network of federal government.
If Pakistan state has chosen to provide expensive real estate to its paid civil or uniformed officers, instead of land for the homeless, IMF or World Bank etc cannot be blamed. It was not the IMF which allowed old inefficient machinery to be imported for electricity, or for politicization of cheaper hydel generation, but bureaucracy and sitting governments who preferred personal lucrative kickbacks during their tenures.
We cannot blame IMF for not levying taxes on huge profits earned by real estate sales, or stock exchange business, for the countries that control IMF, levy such taxes in their respective countries. For any self respecting ruling elite, sarcastic statements by numerous foreign figures, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would have been enough to force men with any self respect to impose direct taxes on rich, instead of doing the reverse leading to massive inflation, unemployment, rise in crime, devaluation and jeopardizing national security.
MALIK TARIQ ALI,
Lahore, October 6.