By Afshan Lalani
KARACHI: The Founder of Corporate Pakistan Group & Nutshell Conferences, Muhammad Azfar Ahsan hosted dialogue on “Federal Budget 20-21 & Pakistan Economy” where distinguished panel includes Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Dr. Miftah Ismail, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Ehsan Malik, Farrukh Khan shared their views and Zulfiqar Akhtar moderated the Dialogue.
We all are aware that this budget relates to times of extremely difficult and exceptional circumstances. Financial Year 2020 has really been a tough year with its distinct ups and down and we saw expansionary support monetary measures due to sudden exceedances where all whole world was hit by COVID-19. This pandemic has brought many challenges for people, government, businessmen and economic managers alike. This sudden shifts in policies and transferring of economic resources to unplanned areas. It has also brought with it many uncertainties thing upon where the normal thing will return and what would be that normal be. It clearly shows how uncertain any planning or budget could really be.
Our prominent speakers were of the viewpoint that the primary balance between government earning and its expenditure was maintained at positive level which is hardly happened in Pakistan like no borrowing was undertaken, no supplementary grounds were given and so on. The growth rate of exports in the last five years was zero percent and steps were taken in addition to correcting the exchange rate. At the same time, subsidiary was given to export sector, subsidization of loans, no more tax regime and social safety program was almost doubled from 100 bn to 192 bn. Corona
Pandemic has changed all the planning and it is too soon to say what will be the consequences of it.
Budget is always ambitious; we always give higher target to achieve. There is a practice we have been doing that we take last years budget, change the figures, change the name to the current year and we are ready with the budget. Budget making should be a serious exercise. The budget should reflect the Government’s planning and try to bring resources accordingly. We really look forward to how this 27% target will be met without increasing taxes. As one of our panelists said that there is needed a national dialogue in terms of how we can increase the revenue moving forward as it is not really a matter of any government rather it is a matter of common man’s life.