ALTHOUGH the Wednesday's federal cabinet meeting discussed a fairly wide range of matters, the economic situation appeared to have received a special attention. For all intents and purposes, there has been an attempt to allay fears that the economy continues to be on the downhill, as the government fails to take measures experts consider appropriate to address the problem. For instance, according to the press briefing given by Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira about the proceedings of the meeting that was presided over by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, the revenue collection this year was expected to be Rs 1.25 trillion. But only the other day, PM's Finance Advisor Shaukat Tarin discounted the possibility of this much return. And he was right by any reckoning. With a markedly reduced business activity - closure of factories because of falling exports and demand at home and insignificant profit or big losses - it is self-deceiving to expect that revenues would touch that target. The pity is that the government has been shying away from levying tax on sectors that could bring in sizeable receipts on grounds for no other reason than to protect vested interests. The people have been told on more than one occasion that taxing agriculture, services and deals in shares and real estate was on the cards, but there has been no visible sign of even preparatory work. It is hoped that this time around the government is serious when it says these sectors would be taxed. While we must try to bring home to the US and Europeans, who never tire of claiming that an economically stable Pakistan was in their interest, the need to provide us access to their markets, the past experience does not inspire much hope. Similarly, it sounds too good to be true to hear that the inflation rate currently running at 19 percent, as claimed by Mr Kaira, would come down to 10 percent in July, less than a month and a half away. Keeping in view the urgent need of the persons displaced from the fighting zone in Malakand Division, it is important that the amount (Rs 25,000 per family) to 125,000 families, which Mr Kaira said had been approved by the President, is disbursed quickly and care taken against any leakage by the corrupt elements. That would benefit less only than half the number (1.9 million) of IDPs. It is also necessary, therefore, to make efforts to get as much foreign and local help to meet the contingency and the aid that has already come is rightly utilised. It is good to learn that the cabinet decided to allocate five percent of employment quota for minorities in all federal government departments. The country faces a grave situation: the economic slowdown, the militant inroads into the state domain and now the IDPs. Each phenomenon is an uphill challenge and requires a matching response. It is imperative that all concerned agencies of the government work hard to tackle the depressing situation.