Jang Economic Session
LAHORE: Equal distribution of all resources, including food and health facilities, among the people is crucial for economic development of the country, with change in provincial and federal government’s strategies in this regard.
These views were expressed by the participants in the Jang Economic Session on ‘How to control growing poverty in rural and urban areas’ held here on Tuesday. The panelists included Dr Qais Aslam, Muhammad Ali Mian, PIAF chairman Sohail Lashari, Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) ex-director general Hussain Ahmed Sherazi and flour miller Bilal Sufi. The event was hosted by Sikandar Hameed Lodhi and Intikhab Tariq.
Dr Qais Aslam said 80 percent of the Pakistani population was earning less then three US dollars a day while 10 percent was earning less than Rs 1,000 per day.
Interestingly, five per cent were earning Rs10,000 to 30,000 per day, he said and added that due to financial problems, the middle class could not afford treatment of some fatal diseases. Poverty, he said, was growing due to non-implementation of labour laws, lack of quality education and limited industrialisation. He said if the government ensured electricity supply to industry, then private sector could generate employment, leading to a decrease in poverty. Hussain Ahmed Sherazi said that 40 percent of Pakistani population living in cities would be increased to 50 percent by 2030.
He said more civic facilities in cities were behind the migration from rural to urban areas.
He said cities had eaten up many districts and villages due to lack of planning at the part of the government. He said more than Rs2,000 billion more tax collection potential existed in Pakistan which could be spent on poverty eradication programmes.
Muhammad Ali Mian said public’s problems were growing due to the energy crisis. He suggested public-private partnership for poverty eradication but the federal government had not given an industrial policy. He said the government was spending one billion rupees daily on public sector enterprises and had reinstated the surplus staff of these institutions too.
He said development projects were not only started in all the five metropolitan cities but also in smaller cities running 50 industries.
Sohail Lashari said promotion of higher and quality education was crucial for poverty eradication. He said businessmen had great resistance as they were working despite the worst-ever energy crisis. Calling for maximum government investments in health and education, he said value addition of human resource benefited, just like value addition of goods did.
Bilal Sufi said a balance between the rural and urban population was crucial, which could only be possible with equal development projects in both areas.