ISLAMABAD: A day after Pakistan unveiled its budget for the year beginning July 1, international scepticism and critiques started gaining momentum as the Wall Street Journal reported that Pakistan has failed to take drastic steps to raise taxes on the elite despite repeated calls by the US, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other donors. The Journal quoted: “[Pakistan] failed to take drastic steps to raise taxes on the country’s elite, a move that the US, the IMF and other donors say is needed to slash an unsustainable budget deficit.” The report went on to state, “But [Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh] at the same time reduced the general sales tax to 16 per cent from 17 per cent and failed to bring in bold new measures to increase the state’s haul of income tax from the country’s wealthiest citizens.” Wall Street Journal wrote: “Pakistan’s elite pay some of the lowest taxes anywhere in the world, with the country’s tax receipts amounting to only nine per cent of the gross domestic product.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2011.
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