ISLAMABAD: Portraying a bleak picture of the economy, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)’s financial wizard Asad Umar has warned that “due to mismanagement of the economy by the ruling party”, Pakistan will be forced to re-enter the IMF programme — on harsher terms — in 2018.
Talking to journalists at the PTI office, he said: “Either they (the rulers) are really a mismanaged lot or highly efficient in corruption, but they have almost brought the national economy to its knees.”
Mr Umar presented figures released by the State Bank of Pakistan that showed negative trends in all segments of economy with a serious increase in foreign and local debts, rise in indirect taxes and decline in direct taxes.
Asad Umar wants govt to broaden revenue base by taxing ultra-rich
As a result, he said, “the rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer, and this will happen again as we enter the new IMF programme”.
He added that the IMF had never asked Pakistan to tax the masses, but “it is always our governments who burden ordinary citizens and save around 200,000 mega rich from appropriate taxation”.
“The conditions are bad due to falling exports. The government is unable to generate revenue and has resorted to exorbitant borrowings both locally and from foreign resources,” he said. “The best way out is to tax the ultra rich, and reduce cost of gas and electricity through subsidies to improve productivity.”
According to Mr Umar, the SBP figures show that accumulated debt stood at just over Rs2 trillion during the Musharraf era (1999-2008), which jumped to Rs8tr during the tenure of the previous PPP government (2008-13) and the PML-N rule has resulted in raising the debt to Rs10.8tr. Economic future of the country was bleak, he said, adding that the incumbent government should not leave the system in tatters by the time they left office, as repaying interest and debt will take a heavy toll on the annual budget of the country in future.
Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2017