Flood tax needed to generate funds for rehabilitation, explains Wahab

Published: October 7, 2010
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Eight-year-old Samina carries water pots to her relief camp. The government has approved the imposition of flood tax to generate more funds for the survivors’ rehabilitation. PHOTO: REUTERS

Eight-year-old Samina carries water pots to her relief camp. The government has approved the imposition of flood tax to generate more funds for the survivors’ rehabilitation. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: Responding to the recent flood tax bashing by several members of parliament, Pakistan Peoples Party central information secretary Fauzia Wahab said the tax imposition is necessary as the government needs to generate funds on its own for the rehabilitation of flood victims.

“We need Rs500 billion. Where will we get it from?” she said talking to the media outside Bilawal House on Wednesday, adding that reservations can be addressed through negotiations with coalition partners.

Two days after the Sindh government approved the imposition of the flood tax, the province’s legislators questioned the decision and claimed that Sindh was being victimised.

“We have no idea what the flood tax is and how it will be imposed. We fail to understand why Sindh and its urban areas have been selected for the tax,” said Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed. “Besides, the government should have consulted us or provided us with details of the tax and its imposition process.”

Earlier, President Asif Ali Zardari had held a special meeting at Chief Minister House where the flood tax was discussed during which the MQM had taken a stand on not accepting it without consulting their party, he told The Express Tribune. “But later, no one consulted us,” Ahmed complained, adding, “Even though the president directed the chief minister to take all the coalition partners into confidence.”

Sardar Ahmed said that the president had assured the MQM that their reservations will be addressed in an upcoming meeting. “So we are waiting for someone to contact us.”

Babar Ghouri, the Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping, termed the government’s decision to impose a flood tax in Sindh unfair and said that the MQM will not accept it at any cost.

Besides the MQM, all the coalition partners supported the president’s proposal. Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s (PML-F) Imitaz Shaikh told The Express Tribune that his party welcomes the decision. “This is a one-time tax and we should come forward and think that we are rendering services for the flood victims,” he said.

He maintained that the confidence of the people would be built with the tax’s imposition and it would also sensitise the international community to donate more for the flood victims. “We have mobilised our party cadre so that large amounts of revenue can be generated,” he said.

According to Awami National Party’s (ANP) spokesman Qadir Khan, this would be the first time in Pakistan’s history that industrialists and “big shots” would come in the tax net. “I think those people who oppose the imposition of this tax indirectly support landlords and industrialists who are tax evaders,” he claimed.

Also welcoming the decision, National People Party’s Arif Mustafa Jatoi said that if the flood tax is imposed, more than Rs2.5 billion would be collected, which will help the government in the rehabilitation of the survivors.

WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING FROM

AIJAZ SHEIKH

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Riaz
    Oct 7, 2010 - 11:38AM

    Tax imposition is necessary as the government needs to generate funds on its own for the rehabilitation of flood victims, PP being the biggest masses party could involve civil society fore better rehabilitation.

    I also upheld the views of Qadir Khan, who said, this would be the first time in Pakistan’s history that industrialists and “big shots” would come in the tax net and those people who oppose the imposition of this tax indirectly support landlords and industrialists who are tax evaders.

    Pleasant news is that besides the MQM, all the coalition partners supported the president’s proposal, which is great for innocent flood afeectees.Recommend

  • Tani
    Oct 7, 2010 - 5:52PM

    We are willing to give our funds, bread and blood for the flood victims.
    But who will eliminate corruption from this land? Who will guarantee that not a single rupee from the flood tax would go into the pockets of these corrupt ministers? Who will guarantee that the money we earn to buy food for our children, to pay our rents, to clothe our families, and to ‘maybe’ educate our children won’t go into the lavish existence of the government? Who will ensure that the funds gathered from the flood tax goes to building the houses of the flood victims? Who can say that there won’t be any discrimination in dirtributing or using the flood tax? Who will ensure that the elite class, the feudals, the crooked leaders of this poor country pay their due share of the tax? Who will ensure that the looted wealth of the people of Pakistan sitting in foreign banks and standing on foreign land is returned?

    Simple question dear reader, have we seen the amounts of the wealth of our Parliamentarians recently? This is a country where the poor cannot buy a piece of bread for their children. Where people don’t know where their next meal would be coming from… Where inflation has increased many folds in the last decade. This is a country where child labor is rampant.
    And then they say on live television that corruption is their HAQ!
    Have we not opened our eyes? Recommend

  • tamaaz khan
    Oct 7, 2010 - 8:49PM

    Qadir Khan is mistaken. Industrialists are already part of the tax net…it is the landlords that are not part of tax net.

    That is why landords can praise the tax which is being generated from the urban areas of Sindh.

    If we need the tax revenue, why is 40% of our GDP (agriculture) not taxed?
    Why do we have agricultural subsidies that do not help increase culitivation or improve liveyhood of the farmers, rather only benefit large landholders?
    Why not tax the member of the feudalocracy that make up 70% of the National Assembly, 75% of the Sindh Assembley, 100% of the Baluchistan Assembly, 70% of Khyber Assembly and 60% of the Punjab Assembly?Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Oct 7, 2010 - 11:59PM

    I have a very simple proposition — even at the cost of repetition:

    A 10% tax on ALL properties — private and commercial — in ALL the major urban areas. Have a sensible threshold to keep out the smaller premises and smaller towns. Use assessed market value, not historic cost.

    Do it. This is progressive and therefore it would be the right thing to do and it would generate substantial revenue. Recommend

  • Nusrat Jatoi
    Oct 8, 2010 - 4:31AM

    The Urban class should pay more taxes. They are tax evaders. Landowner class have rendered great sacrifices for Pakistan starting from the Pakistan movement. They already contribute the greatest to the economy via agriculture. Urban people should be taxed more. Very good decision by PPP.Recommend

  • tamaaz khan
    Oct 8, 2010 - 9:33PM

    ‘Landowner class have rendered great sacrifices for Pakistan starting from the Pakistan movement.’

    They along with the Jamaat e Islami opposed Pakistan.
    Pakistan will only prosper when the landowning class is liquidated.Recommend

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