EAC, finance team not on the same page


The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on Saturday expressed serious concerns over the government’s proposed budgetary strategy calling it anti-growth, rejected imposition of any new taxes and sought measures for better collection of agriculture income tax, curtailing inflation, and solving the energy crisis on an immediate basis. The meeting was attended by Hafeez A Pasha, former finance minister Shaukat Tareen, Jehangir Khan Tareen, Salim Raza and others. Experts criticised the government for not taking difficult economic decisions necessary to come out of the crisis. Their biggest concern was the power crisis and double digit inflation for the next year too that would be a big impediment in the way of growth.
The consensus was only on the issue of taxing the agriculture sector, while they proposed introduction of realistic pricing for canal water utilisation for irrigation purposes. Talking to reporters, Shaukat Tareen warned that if the government did not come up with a comprehensive energy plan to overcome the crisis in 15 days, people will take to the streets, making it difficult for the government to present the budget. EAC Convener Abdul Hafeez Pasha said the government did not have enough fiscal space and without that it would be difficult to present a growth-oriented budget.