‘Ensure equitable resource distribution’

Speakers at the youth seminar on ‘Poverty alleviation vs Capitalism’ Friday stressed the government to expand the tax base to mobilise more resources for social sector development and to take measures for fragmentation of wealth.
The Islamabad Crescent Lions Club (ICLC), Development Communications Network (DEVCOM-Pakistan), Human Capital Management Institute (HCMI), and Saba Trust arranged the event in collaboration with the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) at Islamabad Model College of Commerce for Girls, F-10/3.
Speaking on the occasion, former Foreign Affairs secretary general Akram Zaki said, “The government should tax all the rich and spend the resources on the poor. This will lead the country to a welfare state. The societies, which do not take measures for the welfare and development of the poor, end up with the increased number of crimes and social evils.”
Zaki said, “The blind following of the capitalism has increased the social evils and crimes. We need the solid social justice mechanisms to ensure the provision of right to all. The philanthropic spending is about 5 percent of the total budget. We can solve our almost all poverty-related issues if the government manages to genuinely spend at least 15 per cent of the budget on the welfare of the poor.” “One percent people have occupied 90 percent of the resources which are not used for the poor and masses but to expand the wealth of the rich ones. We need to reform our society on the basis of the social justice.”
Abdullah Yousaf, former Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman, said that provision of social justice and the poverty issues could not be addressed without mobilisation of resources.
“Only 21 percent of the total tax potential is being actualised while the tax gap remains at 79 percent. It is because of the rich and influential that has barred the government to impose taxes on their income. They also evade tax in connivance of the black sheep in the government folds.” He stressed the need to keep the spending within the resources. During the last four years, the debt had been increased by more than 100 percent, he added.
“Our policymakers need to shift their focus and take dynamic decisions if they are interested in making the society prosperous.”
DEVCOM-Pakistan Director Munir Ahmed said, “Our religion provides ample guidance on the distribution of resources. We have clearly defined obligations and responsibilities in a just society. We need to only realise our responsibilities and the people should raise their voice collectively for their rights, social justice, inequality, accountability, and transparency.
He said only a fair distribution of resources would lead to social development that in due course of time wipe off the menace of poverty from the country. “It is the core responsibility of the state to manage the resource mobilisation and rationalise the spending.” Nasir Jamil, the ICLC president, pointed to the gender dimension to all the poverty-related issues. “Women get less food, health and education; hence, they suffer more in the wake of emergencies and disasters. Most of the women live at the lower ebb; we need to adopt gender-friendly strategies to ensure quality life and healthy in the society.”
ICLC Vice-president Sibtain Raza Lodhi urged the youth to spread the message of social justice. “We need to reduce our spending to ensure resource allocation for the needy and poor,” he said. HCMI Director Naeem Bokhari said, “Capitalism has increased consumerism and unemployment simultaneously. Sixty-four percent of our population is earning less than two dollars a day while about 80 percent don’t get food having 3,000 calories. With an increased concentration of wealth, poverty has multiplied manifolds in country,” he warned.

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