’90m people without two meals a day’ | Pakistan Today

’90m people without two meals a day’

KARACHI: More than 130 million people in the country are poor and around 90 million cannot even afford two square meals a day, said prominent economist Dr Shahid Hassan Siddiqui.
He was speaking at a seminar titled “Price hike, unemployment and curse of poverty,” organised by the Shura Hamdard Karachi chapter and presided over by its president Sadia Rashid.
The meeting urged the government to use the Zakat fund for providing jobs to the unemployed particularly the youth and encourage small medium enterprises (SMEs) to help the people financially to their feet.
Siddiqui said the ratio of unemployment in the country was 5.50 per cent, whereas, the prices of electricity, furnace oil and diesel have increased by 113, 140 and 103 percent, respectively, he added.
He claimed that the money collected through Zakat is distributed among undeserving people making it a futile exercise.
“Zakat fund should be utilised in providing employment or starting small scale businesses such as buying someone a rickshaw through micro finance banks and make its down-payment from the fund,” he said.
“The defence budget is increasing without any audits and the national capital is being taken out of the country.”
“It is ironical that in such a situation, tax thieves and plunderers of national wealth are being further benefited,” he said, demanding that the reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) should not exceed five percent and the ‘war on terror’ ended forthwith, as it has inflicted a $51 billion loss to the country.
On the occasion, Rashid said a lot of money is spent on wedding functions, adding, “we should be economical on personal level in order to reduce the spiralling prices of daily use commodities.”
The ratio of saving is very low in Pakistan, she said, adding that the women could play an important role in saving and reducing the domestic expenses.
Mahdi Masud, a former ambassador of Pakistan, said that the biggest problem of the country at the moment was the war against terrorism and unless a national consensus would is achieved on the issue, it could not be overcome. “The civil society should pressurise the government into appointing honest persons on key posts.”

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