Stories about tax

The dam charity: Sorry, I can’t do more

As Pakistanis, we generally make headlines for all the wrong reasons these days, but there is one thing we can still be proud of. Despite having a shattered economy and prevalent poverty, we are one of the most charitable nations in the world. No one could have expected that this fact would one day work against the nation as well. Recently, the age-old issue of the construction of dams took the limelight once again, as Pakistan ranked third among countries facing water shortage. This alarming situation put every state institution on high alert, including the Supreme Court. Fed up with the ...

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Is my tax money funding your political advertisement?

Open any newspaper and you’ll find government advertisements – be it provincial or federal – flashing their on-going or upcoming projects. The best term I could come up with for this exercise of self-promotion is ‘political advertising’, meant for boosting a politician’s profile or a junior level politician behaving like a sycophant for his party boss. The phenomenon cuts through all political parties and ideologies, and affects all forms of media, print or electronic. Such adverts are often used to serve party politics rather than public policy. The incumbent government spends the most on such commercials, which explains why the government’s budget for advertising is ...

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Pakistan budget 101: How comfortable does the future look?

Each family manages its affairs by assessing the financial health and consequently, deciding the expenditures correspondingly. Striving to balance between the present and future lifestyle, we all inadvertently end up ‘budgeting’ our lives to the best of our understanding. While we fail to criticise our individual budgeting misnomers, nonetheless, we anxiously wait for the honourable finance ministers to present the country’s financial outlay and shape our future every year. After all, the government bears the (ir) responsibility of our well-being, doesn’t it? Let us break the budget for the Fiscal Year 2014-15 in a crystallised form for us to pin-point the eventual impact ...

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Shaving Privates Ryan

Alfred Noble invented the dynamite in order to facilitate mining. His invention was misused and resulted in one of the highest death tolls of humans by any weapon. You can’t control the consuming end. Considering that, if you fear your product might be misused, just don’t sell it and avoid the doubts – especially when your reasons are based on religious grounds. See, many people buy cucumbers but not all of them eat them. Some just use them for garnishing and throw them away. Don’t get the wrong idea, people. As is seen in the picture above, this is what I ...

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Monsoon rains in Karachi: Forget your cars, bring out the boats

This Saturday seemed like any other ordinary day to me and I continued my day as usual; the sky was not very clear, but I never anticipated the havoc that was to soon come my way. The weather forecast stated that some areas in Karachi were in for heavy rainfall. Since I am a Pakistani, however, I conveniently chose to dismiss what I heard on the news and decided to manage my day just as any other; I drove out with my mother for her routine dialysis. After almost four hours, I was welcomed by all that I was warned about ...

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Federal Budget 2013-14: More business friendly than people friendly

I still remember my Economics professor’s words, “The political cost of economic decisions is the worst nightmare for the policy-making circles particularly political parties and this is what plays the most significant role in budgetary allocations.” The federal budget 2013-14 has proved this statement correct. With the new political administration at the helm of affairs, the situation is surely somehow different than the past five years, though not an ideal one. A short glimpse of the budget document clearly shows that the budget is more business friendly than people friendly. We find that the government has focused on fiscal discipline, development, power generation, political ...

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Goals for the incoming government: Tell us where all our money has gone

The last five years have only strengthened my position that although sound economic policy may not be the answer to all our problems, mishandling issues of public debt has the potential to break the fragile sovereignty that Pakistan stands on. I often hear about roti, kapra, makaan (food, clothing, shelter) and the plight of the vast majority of Pakistanis; the end of the energy crisis, reducing the national debt, handling the law and order situation, and tackling the double-digit inflation rate. These are all necessary steps to sustain us into the future, and I commend anyone in public office who dedicates their ...

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The government cannot do everything for you

It is a paradox that I have failed to understand: Pakistanis tend to hate their government, think of it as corrupt and incompetent, but at the same time, we feel that the government should do absolutely everything for us. The average Pakistani sees absolutely nothing wrong with the idea of the government setting prices in energy and agriculture. They see nothing wrong with the government blatantly discriminating against some industries by giving others preferential treatment in the tax code and regulatory structure. And most people do not seem to have a problem with the fact that the government owns vast swathes ...

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Budget 2012: What about tax collection?

Dr Hafeez Shaikh is a helpless man. He says powerful lobbies in the country do not want to pay taxes. This is true, but it’s nothing new for us. What duty is the current elected government performing, if not tax collection, to run the country? Everyone wants the budget to provide some form of relief but nobody is willing to pay tax. Unfortunately, those who do end up paying their taxes in Pakistan, the salaried class, are being further burdened, while the powerful people in agriculture and services sector are free of any societal responsibility. It is well known that government ...

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How golden was Ayub Khan’s era?

The numbers do not lie: in terms of economic growth, former President Ayub Khan was not the best ruler Pakistan ever had. Admittedly, he is in second place and beaten only very narrowly by former President Ziaul Haq: Ayub averaged 5.82% growth during his eleven years in office compared to Zia’s 5.88%. Still, the myth of Ayub’s “Decade of Development” persists and so it is worth examining (on what would have been his 105th birthday), what his record was and how he compared to the rest of Pakistan’s rulers. Perhaps the single biggest reason people remember Ayub’s era fondly is because ...

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