Owing to ill-conceived economic policies by the incumbent government, decline in industrial and agriculture along with a broken tax system have led to massive unemployment among the youth bulge of the country.
This was shared by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Osman Saifullah as he presented the outlines of his party’s ‘Shadow budget for the financial year 2017-18’ at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday.
Senator Saifullah said that the increasing income inequality and concentration of wealth have been among some of the major economic issues facing the country and demand immediate corrective measures. Likewise, huge disparities in development between the regions of Pakistan should also be a matter of a grave concern for the current regime.
He pointed out that the industrial manufacturing sector had been destroyed due to the wrong policies of the government while agriculture, the erstwhile economic backbone of the region for centuries, was also in decline. Similarly, he said, Pakistan’s trade competitiveness has been worsening, exports declining and the trade deficit widening alarmingly – all of these require immediate course corrections.
Senator Saifullah added that the tax system was broken, as a result, the government had failed to adequately finance its obligations.
The trickle down effect thus reflected in a private sector being broken down as a job-creation engine with a lack of trust in the government resulting in poor tax culture.
This coupled with poor human capital, Illiteracy and poor human capital as well as deteriorating education system remain the major setbacks for national development.
The PPP senator said highlighted that the regulatory and bureaucratic environment was actually proving to be an impediment to growth of private enterprise. Furthermore, he pointed out that little had been done to increase participation of women in the non-agricultural economy as the government diverted key resources towards ‘unproductive activities’.
Owing to the economic shocks and inflation, he said that the PPP would create and strengthen safety nets for the poor and vulnerable while ensuring equality of opportunity for all. He further added that the private sector should be promoted as an agent of growth.
Similarly, steps would be taken to improve the profitability of players in the formal economy by cracking down on those operating in the black economy and undercutting documented economy players.
Talking about the debt economy, Senator Saifullah noted that it was quite ironic that only seven per cent of borrowers were availing 93 per cent of loans.
He suggesting a plan to mobilise people from the low-income groups and to ensure quality education for their children, he said that the culture of examinations must be ended and voucher schemes introduced.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2017.