Eco­nomic Roadmap Sum­mit ‘The gov­ern­ment has no busi­ness do­ing busi­ness.’

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The Pak­istan Eco­nomic Roadmap Sum­mit took place in Karachi to dwell on Pak­istan’s cur­rent eco­nomic woes and to seek so­lu­tions. Renowned econ­o­mists and fi­nan­cial ex­perts par­tic­i­pated in the sum­mit and de­liv­ered pa­pers and pre­sen­ta­tions on pos­si­ble ways and means to put the coun­try’s econ­omy back on track. In sum, the dis­cus­sions pre­sented a roadmap aimed at at­tain­ing a Rs. 3,000 bil­lion rev­enue base in fis­cal 2012-2013.

Here are the views expressed by some of the lead­ing par­tic­i­pants at the event: Tarin called for in­creas­ing the tax-to-gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) ra­tio, which is cur­rently a lit­tle less than 9 per­cent. He said re­tail­ers across the coun­try paid taxes amount­ing to Rs. 125 mil­lion an­nu­ally, of which Rs. 50 mil­lion came from the Can­teen Stores Depart­ment.

Nam­ing a few Karachi-based large su­per­stores, he said there should not be any sa­cred cows when it came to col­lect­ing taxes.

About the aus­ter­ity plan ap­proved by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and four chief min­is­ters in Jan­uary 2010, Shaukat Tarin said none of the mea­sures the gov­ern­ment agreed upon had yet been adopted. “Why does the gov­ern­ment need 22 ex­ec­u­tive jets? Why should the con­voys of the pres­i­dent and prime min­is­ter have 50 cars? The gov­ern­ment must bal­ance its books by cut­ting ex­penses.”

Tarin also pointed out that a sur­vey of house­hold in­comes which is be­ing un­der­taken with the help of the World Bank, would lead to fair de­liv­ery of tar­geted sub­si­dies. “Sub­si­dies should al­ways be tar­geted so that Shaukat Tarin doesn’t get cheap fuel and electricity,” he re­marked.

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