Call for improved management of revenue-generating expenses

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LAHORE: Experts at a roundtable on the country’s economic situation on Saturday said budget deficits have been there since 2014, and will continue unless interventions are made at all levels of government regarding key policy areas such as revenue generation and expenditure management.

A panel discussion on “Fiscal deficits of the Pakistani economy” was held here as part of the second stage of the Grand National Dialogue under the auspices of the Policy Research Institute, Islamabad, according to a statement. Press.

The distinguished panel consisted of Dr. Maqbool Hussain Sial, Dr. Ali Hussnain, Dr. Ghulam Ghouse, Dr. Fahad Ali, Dr. Ummad Mazhar, Dr. Akhtar Mansoor, Dr. Rafi Amir Uddin and Dr. Aneel Salman, Economic Security Chair at IPRI.

In his opening remarks, former National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr. Moeed Yusuf said: “The only word that matters to Pakistan is economy. The rest is about quantity and the management of the resources at our disposal.

“Speakers noted that Pakistan has a serious debt problem and the budget deficit is a worrying factor.

It has hampered growth and led to runaway inflation and a weakening currency.

“Pakistan’s economy is facing perennial and persistent fiscal deficits, ranging from 2.9% to 12.2% of its GDP,” it was pointed out.

The budget deficit widened due to weak revenue growth and excessive government spending.

“To reduce this deficit, governments have resorted to domestic and international borrowing and spending cuts, which have had a negative impact on the country’s social and economic growth indicators,” they said.

IPRI’s Ambassador Dr Raza Muhammad stressed the need to be tolerant and respectful in our dealings with others that would ultimately define the national character as all stakeholders coax their synergies to get the economy back on track .

Dr. Ali Hussnain remarked that taxation was not voluntary anywhere in the world and came into effect with a vigorous and effective collection mechanism.

According to Dr Fahad Ali, “We need to be clear about what can and cannot be achieved”. He also said that subsidizing the sugar industry was not a good idea.

He went on to say, “We need a lot of money to barely stay afloat. With glaring discrepancies in our tax system, balancing the budget becomes all the more difficult.

Concluding the discussion, the IPRI Chairman emphasized the need for a collective and cohesive approach by the country’s political leaders to address the country’s economic problems.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has also been signed with the Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research, associated with the University of Lahore, to facilitate academic collaboration between the two think tanks.

The signing ceremony was administered by CSSPR Director, Dr. Rabia Akhtar, and IPRI President, Ambassador Dr. Raza Muhammed.

Former National Security Adviser and IPRI Chief Boss Dr Moeed Yusuf was also present on the occasion.

The MoU stipulates initiatives to conduct joint research, publications, conferences and dialogues, and enable academic exchanges on a host of security and foreign policy issues.

The express intention is to produce more qualitative research in various fields, driven by data, enabling academics and policy makers to use it more comprehensively.

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