Fiscal Policy... By Col.(r) Riaz
03 October, 2013
"Coming events cast their shadows before" is a time old adage. From what the MNS regime has done in their first 120 days or so to alleviate the lot of the poor, one cannot pin much hopes for the betterment during the rest of their ruling period also. Everyone knows that we as a nation are cash strapped and our almost all problems are due to the non-availability of funds in the required ratios. We have to raise money to overcome our difficulties. But somehow our financial wizards in the govt. know no other means of doing so except for going to the IMF, borrowing from the banks, taxing the poor directly and indirectly and printing the notes day and night which causes further inflation making the life of the poor still more miserable! Does it require a rocket science to know that to ease out such a situation one has to cut down all unessential expenditures and losses and explore the ways and means to generate additional income. In that :
1: Cut down all lavish, extravagant and Shah Kharchi type of government, bureaucratic and parliamentary expenses. We know them all too well to be recounted here.
2: Get rid of (privatise) the white elephants, wholly or partly, causing the national exchequer loss of billions daily – PIA, Steel Mills, Railways, WAPDA and similar other organisations.
3: To generate additional revenue, we all know that only a fraction of the taxes and levies collected come to the exchequer and most of these are embezzled by the tax collectors themselves. Therefore, the FBR – who would oppose the scheme below tooth and nail - should only do the legislation and policy making and have nothing to do with the ACTUAL collection of the taxes. In that :
Auction all Tax Collecting Agencies – Airports, Dry Ports, Sea Ports, Excise & Taxation Department, Toll Plazas etc. – initially for a period of three years keeping the base or reserve auction price at DOUBLE the average of the last three years' revenue collected by the FBR. All staff working in these departments may be given Golden Hand Shake or Long Leave with pay till they attain the age of retirement. However, the bid winner may wish to retain any of these officers and staff working in these departments to work for him. I bet my life that after first three year period the next three year Auction Bid would accrue at least the double of it if not more, and this process will keep growing after every three years. Govt. will stand to gain BILLIONS and IMMENSELY by this one measure alone.
There are a few more other such revolutionary schemes that can be implemented – such as Fixed and Capacity Tax on All Shops, businesses, factories, mills etc. etc. instead of the present discretionary assessment system. The property tax can be fixed and computed keeping certain factors as the city / locality and the total area of the property as per the Land Revenue records. All such revolutionary measures can be worked out easily with the help of computers, but due to the paucity of space I will deal with them some time again.
Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)