EDITORIAL: Meeting the challenge.
News reports suggest that the government is considering imposition of a new tax on imports, production and services to raise Rs 100 billion to meet this challenge. While the suggestion may look rosy on paper, in reality it is more likely to accelerate galloping inflation in the aftermath of these floods. Crop devastation will skyrocket the already high food inflation, which is the core factor in inflationary trends. Governments in such crises exempt taxes to help the wrecked people, not impose new ones, which are likely to further erode their purchasing power and exacerbate the situation instead of easing it. It is probable that the development budget will have to be recast and funds diverted to reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. In this regard, cutting down government expenditure would provide crucial help. However, there has been little proof other than lip service that our politicians and officialdom are ready to give up their extravagant lifestyles to chip in to help overcome this human calamity. This will only further erode the rather weak credibility of the political class as a whole; about the bureaucracy, the less said the better. Last but not least, the Pakistani public has always shown great philanthropic instinct to help the needy. Conceding concerns for the government's credibility in utilising relief funds, the public can mobilise material and human resources and deliver aid to the victims themselves or through reliable organisations. We must all do whatever is in our power to help the affectees. *
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|Publication:||Daily Times (Lahore, Pakistan)|
|Date:||Aug 13, 2010|
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