Pakistan being trapped in foreign loans, warns economist

Karachi:  Noted economist Dr Shahid Hasan Siddiqui has warned that Pakistan is being snared in a net of foreign debts and the coming generations would have pay the dire con sequences of this conspiracy.

He was speaking at a meeting of Shura Hamdard Karachi chapter on the theme: “Coming National Budget and nation’s expectations” presided over by Justice (Rtd.) Haziqul Khari at a local hotel Thursday evening.

Dr Siddiqui said that Pakistan was being trapped in the net of foreign loans and taking huge blindly would be tantamount to mortgage our next generations. Enhancement in reserve and value of rupee through artificial means would not make economy stronger and solid. Pakistan was trailing behind than the African country, Congo in social sector improvement. More than 100 million people could not make their ends meet, he said.

Pakistan also failed to meet the target of primary education, set by UN up to 2014 while seventy developing countries had already achieved this target, he added. He said, Pakistan had spent $ 104 billion on war on terror. Under Alliance Fund USA had to pay $ 5 billion to Pakistan up to October 2013, but according to finance minister, US only paid $ 1.4 billion to Pakistan. If we could get this amount then we have neither a need of foreign loans nor to issue “Islami Sakook”, he added.

He was of the view that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has betrayed to its manifesto by increasingly depending most on foreign loans, aid and resources. As a sequel Pakistan would be further trapped in the vicious circle of loans and its economy would remain in doldrums till 2018, resulting in escalation of people’s miseries.

Offering recommendations for national budget, he said, the only way to get rid of this situation was to depend less on foreign loan, avoid taking instalments from IMF, reducing GST from 17 to 5 per cent which would boost the economy.

He suggested that federal and provincial governments should allot 7 per cent funds for education and 2 per cent for health in their respective budgets. Tax deducted on annual income is fixed on more than five hundred thousand rupees annual income and lesser income to that be exempted from income tax. Taxes on petroleum products be abolished that would reduce the prices of petrol by Rs. 20/- would result in bringing down the ratio of inflation by 5 per cent.

Dr Siddiqui suggested no black money should be turned ‘white’ and for this purpose amendment be made in section 111 (4) of tax ordinance. 50 per cent amount of remittances, received from abroad, is transferred to investment which would provide an amount of $ 4 billion to investment sector.

Her said the decision to sale the shares of public institutions should be withdrawn and in order to increase the savings, banks should be bound to open accounts on partnership of profit and loss and profit be given to account holders according to the agreement. He was of the view that the amount of foreign loans, aids and gifts be used in productive activities and to produce energy in the country. To use this amount in the payment of loans was nothing but a deficit action.

He advised that internal loans should be paid by increasing tax base and curbing the corruption and mismanagement. Restriction should be imposed on members of parliament, provincial assemblies, judiciary, civil and military high officials not to open their accounts in foreign banks, he concluded.

Justice (Rtd) Haziqul Khairi who presided over the moot suggested that a duty of one or two per cent be imposed and received on the assets and wealth of a person when he died and the wealth and property was going to be distributed among his/her offspring’s.  This law was in action in British India and remained so after the creation of Pakistan, but it was abolished reasons were not known. He said this should be imposed now as it would give a good enough income to the government.

Col (Rtd) Mukhtar Ahmed Butt, Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan, Zafar Iqbal, Haq Nawaz Akhtar, Engineer Anwarul Haq Siddiqui, Brig (Rtd) Syed Muzaffarul Hasan, Prof. Mohammed Rafie, Com (Rtd) Sadeed Anwar Malik, M. Abul Fazal, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar Sheikh, Dr. Mirza Arshad Ali Begg, Qudsia Akbar, Shamim Kazmi and Dr. Naeem Qureshi also spoke.

Mrs. Sadia Rashid, President, Hamdard Foundation Pakistan was also present.

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