'Pakistan can be self-sufficient if people pay taxes'

Published: September 4, 2019
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Bakht says country cannot rely on foreign sources to manage economy. PHOTO: Hashim Jawan Bakht

Bakht says country cannot rely on foreign sources to manage economy. PHOTO: Hashim Jawan Bakht

LAHORE: Every Pakistani has to pay taxes for betterment of the country because Pakistan cannot rely on foreign sources to manage its economy, suggested Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht.

Speaking on the sidelines of a symposium titled “Behavioural Economics in Policy Making” held at the Lahore School of Economics, the minister said the country had to be self-sufficient, which could only be achieved when the public paid due taxes.

“We are aware that some groups, like traders, are resisting entry into the tax net,” he said while terming it a behavioural issue. “However, we are building an understanding by continuously engaging with them and the government’s biggest asset is the confidence of general public in it.”

He, however, claimed that Punjab had registered 46% growth in sources of revenue generation in one year.

“The federal government’s performance in first two months of the current fiscal year was below average but we in Punjab have promoted forced savings,” he pointed out. “If we face any shortfall in federal transfers, forced savings will help Punjab achieve its budget estimates.”

Speaking at the symposium earlier, the provincial finance minister said Punjab had experimented some behavioural economics in the Punjab Revenue Authority’s Restaurant Invoice Monitoring System.

“We have developed a new sort of mechanism where people will be taking more economics and behaviour orientations and hopefully we will be nudging bureaucracy and ourselves in that direction as well,” said the minister.

“No matter how much public finance we are pouring into the schemes, the required dividend is not coming out,” he voiced concern. “These nudges will help us redefine the state and citizen contract as well.”

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Qatar, Hassan Al Thawadi, said hosting the Middle East’s first mega event had inspired his country to ensure that it served as a catalyst for socio-economic progress and development.

“Integrating behavioural insight experiments with our vast array of programmes is an integral part of that mission,” he said. “We are pleased that the government of Pakistan and other national stakeholders are considering application of behavioural economics concepts and tools in various areas of public policy.”

“We are glad to support as well as share lessons learnt from our own experience in taking such initiatives and conducting behavioural experiments,” Thawadi added.

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