development budget 23rd January 2008

Cut in development budget

THIS is with reference to your editorial, ‘Cut in development budget’ (Jan 15). To our great misfortune, every successive government has given a very low priority to the education and health sectors, and the results are there for all to see. And instead of reducing expenditure, the present government has substantially increased the salaries and perks enjoyed by bureaucrats and legislators. It is urgently necessary to increase government revenue and reduce expenditure. Why has the government so far not done anything to reduce energy consumption?The huge petrol-guzzling cars continue to be imported and used, while marriage halls operate until two in the night, consuming imported oil which is getting more expensive every day. If the government does not force shops to close by nine and marriage halls by 11, a day may come when it will be necessary to declare a dusk-to-dawn curfew every day. As for increasing revenue, imposing sales tax on smuggled goods sold by the 25,000 shops in Karkhano Bazaar near Peshawer can fetch at least Rs300 billion every year, if not more. I have personally observed the heavy amount of tax evasion there. But I doubt if the government will ever do anything to tax the smugglers, whose influence in the corridors of power is even greater than that of the sugar barons.