Jun 02

Budget 2012-13: Rs2.96trn election budget presented amid ruckus

With election sirens wailing and nerve-wrecking challenges, Pakistan is in a tight grip of political and socio-economic upheavals right ahead of its federal budget… blame it on history that keeps repeating itself.budget 2012

Various business groups, chambers of commerce and industries have been voicing recommendations. But the gist of these proposals remains the same just as the country’s persisting problems.

The emphasis is on enlarging the tax net tapping evaders, curbing govt spending, social equality, opportunities for investment, industrialization and generating employment. But what about the shattered morale of the depressed business community? Is there enough breathing space for them to survive the cut-throat competition in today’s globalized world? The intensity of slogans is screaming for justice, tackling the corrupt system, boosting trade… providing ‘Roti, Kapra, Makaan, Bijli, Pani, Gas..’ but in vein. With textiles shifting to Bangladesh, skilled labour relocating abroad, higher tariffs to cope with, the industrial and corporate sector is entangled in the shackles of government irregularities.

Coming to an emerging trade partner in the neighbourhood, potential trade agreements with India would only be justified if Pakistan’s businesses and commodity basket is given equal and fair treatment.

For its federal budget, India has pledged income tax relief to citizens, measures to curb black money, giving a boost to defence sector and infrastructure, capital market reforms and huge subsidy cuts, boosting businesses.

There are examples around us, how economic leaders work persistently to turn the game around in favour of their revenue generating machinery. At a time when the world economy is reeling in the economic traps of fiscal deficit, Australia’s Federal Budget has been exemplary.

It is being termed as a ‘Robin-Hood Budget’…with special focus on the labour force, child-care, health plans and drastic tax-cuts….Australia’s middle and lower income groups are to receive $20 billion in cost-of-living assistance outlays over a span of next 4 years.

A dynamic move on the part of the government to provide this cushion of security, to make up for hurt sentiments of its people and get them to pull up their socks and become a part of development process.

Apparently, we refrain from taking a lesson from pro-people governments. For a country that resumed democracy after a lapse of 9 years, survived natural calamities, unhindered by global financial crisis, oozing with natural resources and 60% of population is its youth…with all the right ingredients, the broth was left to parasites.

There was some hope from its political and economic managers, but they have worked in ways to only rip its potential bit by bit. Budgetary framework, its representation and implementation…all march in opposite directions.

And now in the clutches of higher debts, faced with multiple geo-political issues and economic war clouds looming, it is high time public representatives put things in order. It is time they should be done search their hollow hearts for all the justification.

It is time the privileged lot becomes sensitive to the needs of masses…. This molten rock has endured enough pain. It has turned into lava… on the verge of eruption.