‘Instead of poor, billionaires getting support packages’

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: President Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) Dr. Murtaza Mughal on Friday said that support packages are offered to billionaires in Pakistan against the support packages given to poor in western countries. In a statement issued here on Friday, he was of the view that the sole purpose of packages doled out to the rich is to increase their fortunes on the cost of the poor. Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the countrymen are always told that packages given to industrial, agricultural, stock market or real estate sectors are necessary for national development which is contrary to the facts.
There was no concept of tax amnesty schemes in civilized countries, but every government in Pakistan provides an opportunity for the rich to whiten their black money, he added.
The President PEW said that the former government announced the construction package by promising affordable housing for the poor but not a single house could be built for the poor.
The scheme helped the builders’ mafia earn billions of rupees and it resulted in increased prices of plots, houses and construction materials. At the same time, rents crossed the limits putting a burden on tens of millions of people.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that industrialists and entrepreneurs in Pakistan are addicted to packages, bailouts and tax amnesty schemes and they do not work until they are given benefits of billions of rupees.

The majority of the importers are involved in under-invoicing which is causing the loss of trillions of rupees to the government. At least four billion dollars are being under-invoiced in trade from only one neighbouring country and their exporters are paid through handi, he informed.

Dr. Mughal said that the authorities know that Pakistan is losing a large amount due to the practice of under-invoicing but no action is taken on it lest it disturbs the influential importers who have political connections.

The President PEW said that political interests are more important than the national interests of the political parties and they are not concerned about their responsibilities even if the country is burning.