The Nawa-i-Waqt media group held a Pre-Budget Seminar 2010-2011 in Lahore on Saturday May 15. It was addressed by eminent economists and financial experts covering almost every aspects of Pakistans national development and challenges to the economy in comparison with last year. During the seminar, former Federal Minister Sartaj Aziz presented the positive and negative sides of the economy during the past few years, as well as some loopholes present in the budget. In his view, the biggest challenge was whether we will be able to revive the economy while we are facing a host of other challenges. According to former Governor State Bank Dr Ishrat Hussain, the economic challenge can be resolved through the decentralisation of powers from the provinces to districts and local governments, now that the Centre and all provinces have finally agreed to the distribution of powers and resources after the finalisation of NFC Award. Next Senator Ishaq Dar while giving a detailed survey of the countrys economic state stressed on the cleansing of our delivery system so that nearly 50 percent of our funds are not wasted through corruption of sorts. Former VC and President Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust Dr Rafique Ahmed maintained that for the last 62 years no budget can be defined as the 'poor mans budget. This speaks volumes for the civil and military leaderships love of the poor during their regimes. Moreover, he recommended fundamental reforms in our taxation system. Another eminent speaker, Federal Minister Waqar Ahmed assured the audience that the present government was fully aware of the problems faced by the people. Therefore, the government will take all possible measures to ensure a robust economy. However, there was consensus amongst the speakers that health, education, power generation, water management, eradication of poverty and rule of law, as well as provision of speedy justice, were also essential needs of the hour. The Pakistan National Forum hosted pre-budget seminar of a similar nature addressed by almost the same distinguished economic experts who provided similar economic surveys of the state of Pakistan, and generally speaking provided similar solutions to get out of the prevailing situation, showing indicators of almost a failed state unless bailed out by the IMF and the World Bank. At the last years pre-budget seminar organised by The Nation, the then Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin had promised a better standard of life for an average Pakistani, more job opportunities, and better health and education facilities. Whatever the reasons for the failure to achieve the committed goals, the targets set have proved to be a mirage. The harsh reality is that whatever is proposed in such seminars is somehow not implemented on the ground by those concerned. All governments preach austerity but this is never demonstrated by those in power at all levels. The mindset of those in power, which control 90 percent of the resources of the nation, is the biggest hurdle in the equal distribution of national wealth. There is no indication of any change of heart by the elite. Hence, 90 percent of the population is not inclined to pay income tax and other dues. Even more alarming is the less than two percent of the GDP, allocated to health and education. Most of the advanced countries allocate seven percent of the GDP to education. If due attention is not paid to education in the coming budget, it may be too late and my only comment would be may God help us. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Foundation.