Budget hopes and fears

Nadeem Moulvi

The writer is a business analyst.

The development of a country does not only require good performance by the government but also the cooperation of the people. In our country, the policymakers have always different from those who run the state of affairs. As a result, the common man has to bear the brunt and often shown displeasure at the government.

The budget makers have tried to impact the lives of people and improve the economy by allocating the largest portion for welfare and development.

Will this be spent in good faith? What will it be spent on? Will it improve our lives? These are some of the most puzzling questions on our minds. In the federal budget this year, the government has tried to change the current tax system. The question remains whether it will be successful. Will people fulfill their national responsibility and pay their taxes or not? This budget has introduced such a system that no income tax officer can collect taxes by putting pressure on a citizen. This has been implemented to eliminate corruption and restore public confidence by ending harassment and hoping that people would voluntarily start paying their taxes.

The people of this country are the most charitable and generous in the world who have always donated with their open hearts during every calamity. Billions are donated every year for charitable activities to help others. However, they are reluctant to pay their taxes as they fear the money will be misused and they receive nothing in return. They neither have access to public services, schools, hospitals, or public transport. So why should they pay taxes?

The government has decided to reduce the prices of small cars in this budget. However, this will have an adverse effect and is not the best decision. More people will buy cars which will worsen the traffic situation, create pollution, and increase the usage of petroleum products leading to higher oil imports. This will reduce precious foreign exchange reserves. Therefore, the decision to increase the number of small cars could be detrimental to the economy. The government should instead prioritize public transport projects instead of reducing car prices and build a transport system in every part of the country as just one bus can accommodate passengers of forty cars.

A saying goes that a developed nation is not where the poor drive cars but where the rich use public transport. Even in rich countries of the world, public transport is given more importance than private vehicles which lessens the burden on the oil industry. Due to the absence of public transport in Pakistan, a car has become a personal necessity. If the public transport system is improved, every person can save a significant portion of their income.

The government has introduced a new system called the mortgage system. This means you can borrow money from banks to buy your own home, with 90% capital and 10% down payment. This is a great step for people who have been dreaming to have their own house for years. Those availing this programme should realize that they can keep their savings safe for years, but job holders should be wary as there is a high level of job insecurity and unemployment in Pakistan. If they end up losing their jobs after securing a loan, they will end up losing everything and will be homeless.

Our budget depends on the IMF deal as we have secured a bailout package and must renew it. In case the IMF compels us to raises the prices of electricity, gas and oil, it will improbable to run the system and our economy will sink further deep in the quicksand of economic difficulties.