Saifuddin Sheikh, Executive Director of Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday that the integrity of the country and interests of the masses are being compromised for the sake of the elite.
The previous government has left after creating a crisis in the country and exposing people to unmanageable problems, he said.
The IMF will have no objection to reducing the price of electricity; therefore, people should not be misled on the issue of electricity rates, he added.
Saifuddin Sheikh said in a statement issued here today that the electricity bill is kept within ten percent of the income of a common man, and more than that is considered cruel in civilised nations.
But the situation is otherwise in Pakistan, where the people are not given any facilities but are subjected to excessive taxation and the highest possible electricity tariff.
He said that if the IMF were asked to reduce electricity bills, it would have no objection, but the lender would demand a plan to cover the deficit, which would mean increasing the government’s income.
Increasing government income will be very difficult as the tax-paying sector is already paying too much tax and cannot bear any more burden while collecting tax from the non-tax-paying sector was never a priority.
Similarly, the corrupt and ruthless elite will not be brought into the tax net in any case, even if it affects the integrity of the country, he observed.
He said that the government would be left with the option of making gasoline more expensive and increasing the tax on imports to increase revenue.
He said that tax collectors are more interested in collecting benefits than fulfilling their responsibilities. They always avoid direct taxation, and they are totally dependent on indirect taxes, which means that even if these institutions are closed, the tax revenue of the government will decrease by only 10%.
He said that the price of sugar had increased by 23 rupees in the month of August, and now it has become more expensive than flour. India has banned the export of sugar, but its smuggling from Pakistan continues unabated because the smugglers pay the sugar mafia in dollars.
He noted that serving elites is the common agenda of all the administrations in Pakistan, and they have nothing to do with the welfare of the masses.