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The nation is facing critical issues

By Inam Ellahi Shaikh
Sep 04 - 10, 2000

By the Grace of Allah, the Almighty, Pakistan has recently celebrated its 54th birthday as having passed through very critical moments, which saw many steps taken by the present Government in the interest of the country. The greatest announcement was regarding the change of the existing system of the Governs and unveiling plan announced by the Chief Executive on the Independence day. It is to be noted that for the past 53 years we have been following the rules of Governs laid by the Wizards of the British Raj and this change is very significant and much needed, and has to be given a chance because the old system has miserably failed and it is the need of the time that the citizens of Pakistan adopt themselves to the new system of Governs and give it a chance, so that it prove beneficial and brings stability, honour and Glory to Pakistan. This new system apparently somewhat has a reflection of the "Basic Democracy" system adopted during the reign of Field Marshal Ayub Khan, but an improved form whereby authority rests at local level, and certainly this system will be needing improvement in the future as we pass through the times to come and we must have patience to give it a chance as an independent nation.

The nation faced the documentation of economy and widening of Tax Net and although there were some anxious moment during the period; but thanks to the patriotic citizens of Pakistan that it has almost succeeded and over all the economic sector has co-operated. The Government deserves all congratulations for adopting relaxed attitude to make the documentation of economy, a success.

The continuous rise of strength of the dollar and fall of other currencies of the world, has been also effecting the Pakistani rupee and its high time that our financial experts put their attentions towards strengthening the Pak rupee Vs dollar. The dollar phobia has to be eliminated and Pak rupee has to be strengthened by adopting appropriate measures for strengthening our currency because continued depreciation of Pak rupee is seriously effecting our economy and future plans for development. We must look into policies adopted by other countries of the world who have stable economic policies, such as Japan, U.K., U.A.E etc. If the local entrepreneur is made available all elements and tools towards economic growth, it will certainly not take much time for our currency to become stable and of strength. We must plan to develop our exports and remove all the undesired hindrance and bottlenecks coming in its way, without more incentive for export and removal of all unpatriotic hurdles, impediments by Bureaucracy; one is afraid that our economy can not grow as desired. Steps taken of removal of corruption are laudable but its root causes require more action. The exporters have the grievance that Sales Tax paid by them is not promptly and judicially refunded as such it is suggested that a suitable mechanism be developed so that exporters neither have to pay Sales Tax nor claim refund thereof and they are saved from unnecessary documentation and blockage of their huge funds in Sales Tax refunds which is hampering the exports by adversely affecting their liquidity to enable them to concentrate their energies on promotion of exports and earning of much needed foreign exchange for their country.

To improve the economy we must concentrate on taping and improvement of Oil and Gas resources and its production in order to reduce imports and dependence thereon and development of Information Technology and export of Software. This has to be done on the basis of war footing. Conventional agricultural product growth is commendable and welcome, as it meets the daily requirements of the people and the abundance of food and raw material products saves tremendous foreign exchange. Abundance of production of Wheat, Rice and Cotton has certainly made great contribution towards saving of precious Foreign Exchange and our agriculture sector deserves all commendation, but it may be borne in mind that price of a small Chip of Software comparing with huge size of a Bale of Cotton, Cloth, Sugar or Rice Bag is more. It is all the more expensive when exported and a developed IT items attracts more value in terms of exports. In this connection we must look to Singapore and Malaysia for guidance as their monthly exports excel Pakistan's yearly proposed target. We must endeavour to have a silicon valley like one in San Jose, California and other in Banglore (India) and Pakistanis engaged in San Jose California to be invited for development of the software in particular and Information Technology in general. The continued export of Made-ups and value added items is also significally important and requires more incentives for higher earnings of Foreign Exchange.

The recovery of dues, arrears and the broadening of the Tax Net as well as attempts to route out corruption is very praiseworthy; but it is to be noted that unless its' causes are removed, working simplified, we will have still difficult time.

Last but not the least, let us bear in mind that with a hostile Hindu India with threatening posture, our existence and survival depends only on strictly following the sayings of the Quaid-e-Azam to have Unity, Faith and Discipline amongst all of us. Let us all pledge to meet the challenge. Pakistan Paindabad.