Premium Content

Pakistan’s Urgent Need for Progressive Policy Reforms: A Pathway to a More Meaningful Annual Budget

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Zafar Iqbal

A government can make a budget meaningful for the economy and the people by focusing on progressive policy reforms in key areas. Firstly, the government should prioritize strengthening the rule of law to ensure fair treatment for all stakeholders involved in legal disputes. This will attract long-term investments and foster sustainable economic growth.

Secondly, the government should target potential taxpayers, especially those with higher incomes, to improve tax collection and ensure an equitable distribution of the tax burden across all sectors.

Thirdly, addressing the crisis in the agricultural sector is essential. Supporting farmers and revitalizing agriculture can reduce food dependency on imports and enhance the country’s trade and current account balance.

Lastly, removing regulatory obstacles hindering the work of nonprofit organizations is crucial, especially amid an economic emergency. These organizations play a critical role in providing support to the country’s most vulnerable populations.

By incorporating these reforms into the annual budget, the government can make it a transformative tool that addresses the needs of the economy and the people.

Over the years, Pakistan has seen a series of annual budgets that have failed to bring about significant change as successive governments have struggled to uphold their budgetary commitments. Robust development plans have often been announced, only to be later reversed in an attempt to address a persistent and growing fiscal deficit. This pattern has weakened Pakistan’s finances, leading to recurring fiscal deficits, out-of-control trade and current account deficits, and mounting domestic and foreign debts. As the country prepares to enter another IMF loan program, the upcoming budget is expected to be shaped by stringent conditions imposed by the IMF. However, while the IMF bears some responsibility, it is critical to acknowledge that we, as citizens and policymakers, also have a role to play in implementing these essential reforms, to alleviate the financial strain on the population.

One of the most glaring contradictions in Pakistan’s economic landscape is the lack of a comprehensive tax net, with only two per cent of the population currently contributing. This means that [consequences of lack of tax net] exacerbate the issue. This chronic problem underscores the failure of economic policies and the urgent need for reforms in key areas.

Firstly, Pakistan’s economic trajectory can only improve through strengthened rule of law, ensuring fair treatment for all stakeholders involved in legal disputes. This is essential to attract long-term investments and foster sustainable economic growth.

Secondly, targeting potential taxpayers, especially those with higher incomes, is crucial for improving tax collection and ensuring equitable distribution of the tax burden across all sectors.

Thirdly, the crisis in the agricultural sector, exemplified by the recent wheat harvest failure, demands immediate attention. Supporting farmers and revitalizing agriculture is essential to reduce food dependency on imports and enhance the country’s trade and current account balance.

Lastly, there is a pressing need to remove regulatory obstacles hindering the work of nonprofit organizations, especially amid an economic emergency. These organizations play a crucial role in [specific role of nonprofits in the current economic emergency], and empowering them can offer critical support to Pakistan’s most vulnerable populations.

As Pakistan faces one of the most significant emergencies in its history, it is crucial that the annual budget is not just a numerical exercise but a vehicle for implementing transformative policy reforms, and we must act now.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Videos