Bajwa urges govt to expand tax base in order to break ‘begging bowl’
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said Pakistan needs to expand its tax base, bring in financial discipline and ensure continuity of economic policies to be able to break the begging bowl, military’s media wing reported. “The economy is showing mixed indicators. Growth has picked up but the debts are sky high. Infra- structure and energy have improved considerably but the current account balance is not in our favour,” the army chief reportedly said while addressing a seminar on the interplay of economy and security on Wednesday. “Our tax to GDP ratio is abysmally low and this needs to change if we are to break the begging bowl,” read the text of Bajwa’s speech shared by Inter-Services Public Relations.He also shared that economy remains a major concern during National Security Council meetings, also revealing that he reads the business and economy page of the newspaper right after the main page because of its importance. ”Pakistan is capable of creating sufficient fiscal space to address underlying structural problems through tax reforms, documenting economy, diversifying the export base, and encouraging savings to finance a level of investment that could sustain growth rate higher than the rise of population,” but the benefits should also reach all parts of Pakistan including interior Sindh, Fata, Balochistan and Southern Punjab, he said.