Minister for Finance Mr. Ishaq Dar declared that he would quit politics if anyone proved any wrongdoing, even one rupee against him; he said this in a conference while launching the Economic Survey for 2014-15. Well may be Mr. Dar is right as far as his own person and direct corruption is concerned. But as the economic survey last year and the new budget for the coming one are amply proving is this: he and his team have the wrong priorities, which is why economy is not getting any better.
First there is Nawaz Sharif’s obsession with road infrastructure projects. The government allocated Rs. 43 billion for the Lahore Motorway and nearly Rs. 85 billion for Rawalpindi Motorway and Sindh Government spends lavishly on development projects like Highway, motorway at the cost of three times the actual price. How does that help the poor section of our society who need education and health care and jobs?
The infamous Benazir Income Support Program is the only thing that seems to have perpetuated but it remains a poor hand-out to people who get increasingly depending on such hand-outs instead of being made useful members of society by doing jobs, getting education and skills. Their children are hungry or malnourished and out of school and thus will never have a chance in life.
Especially wrong are his priorities regarding the energy crisis, that is at the bottom of low industrial output. Instead of first look after conservation of already produced energy by minimising transmission losses, upgrading transmission network, stopping huge energy theft and making consumers pay bills, the government being among the largest defaulters. Then a major priority should have been fixing the matter of circular debt that has not been addressed at all.
No progress has been made with regard to bringing the rich into the tax net; majority of tax is from indirect taxes that are paid by the poor of the society as much as the rich. Now another scheme is in the making for new taxes for rehabilitating the IDPs and guess who will pay? The common man! While large corruption cases are put on hold, the recovered money from which, would be enough to solve the problem at hand.
Karachi, June 5.