By Ahmad Jawad
We are a nation hoping to grow through CPEC with an approximate loan of 40 Billion$ from China or 10 Billion$ IMF loan, we get excited on first sign of Saudi Investment, we look forward to have release of US aid, we seek help from overseas Pakistanis every day. Last 10 years under Zardari and Sharifs have left us in most vulnerable economic state.
In all this hope of foreign aid, we might have forgotten our own responsibility and duty: responsibility as a nation, responsibility as a government, duty as a Minister and responsibility as a public representative. This kind of mindset is actually not our national mindset but it has been transpired by following powerhouses during each tenure of governments in last 48 years. These faces join every government as experts and under essential machinery of bureaucracy: who are they? They come from following three categories:
1. Our bureaucracy, the mother of status quo.
2. Our foreign funded think tanks, who takes birth in theories and die in theories.
3.Our economic experts who never created a single profit earning entity in their lives but they want to guide a country how to earn money
These three categories have invented, planned and executed our economic policies in last 48 years. They are the ones who have put us into current mess. They could never conceive a policy that can allow us to walk without crutches.
I am a simple Pakistani, I am not bureaucrat, i am not so called economic expert, i am not foreign funded think tank, I am not MNA/MPA/Senator or a Minister, I am not qualified from Harvard or Oxford, I am not Phd, yet i would like to place a solution here which can give better results than the dreams of CPEC, IMF loan, US aid or Saudi Investment or loans.
Before I offer a solution, I would like to ask a few questions:
Can we safely assume that wealthy club of Pakistan comprises of 2% population of Pakistan (4 Million). This group has Feudal lords, Landlords, Industrialist, most of the serving and retired Generals and other senior ranks of Defense Arms, most of the serving and retired bureaucrats, most of the serving and retired Judges, Top positions of public sectors, Businessmen, Top journalists, Anchors, most of the Parliamentarians, most of the politicians, most of the doctors, most of the engineers, most of the corporate leaders and most of the Pirs & religious leaders?
Can we safely assume that each of this wealthy group has a property (Plot, house, agriculture land, business, factory, ware houses, farm house) over 5 crore (50 Million) at market rate?
Can we safely assume that each of this group has a Car/SUV 1600 Cc & above and having more than two cars?
Can we assume each of this group has more than two servants in their houses?
Can we assume each of this group has a reasonable bank balance and regular income through various sources that makes their life comfortable enough?
Can we assume each of this group has been able to provide education to their children in expensive private schools or exclusive schools or even education abroad?
Can we assume each of this group has air conditioners, LEDs, laptops, iPhones, Samsungs phones, expensive furniture, kitchens and luxury drawing rooms in their houses?
Can we assume each of this group has visited abroad for vacations abroad more than three times? Even if the vacations were connected to official visits.
Can we assume each of this group get their medical treatment from most expensive hospitals of Pakistan or abroad?
This 2% of elite club has nothing to fear if dollar goes up or down, inflation rises, loans increase or shortage of electricity or water, they comfortably manage their lifestyle through their own deep pocket or government perks and privileges.
Can we assume that almost 50 % of this group is corrupt? Can we assume that almost 50 % of this group has made money using their power & authority in government positions? do they deserve any sympathy? I have a solution to make them & Elite club of Pakistan to pay back for Pakistan.
A notification from FBR should be issued under the approval of government that these 4 Million elite club will pay “ONE TIME” 1% LIFESTYLE TAX of their total wealth to support the ailing economy of country.
Measure their wealth. Wealth will not be measured only through tax returns but it will be measured through number of houses, plots, cars registered on their name or any member of their family. All this data can be taken from DHA, Bahria Towns, Other housing schemes, expensive residential sectors of every city and vehicle registration database. It will also be measured through registration of children in expensive private schools, it will be measured through foreign trips abroad from FIA, it will be measured through patwaris system to know agriculture lands held by landlords. This all data can be retrieved and collected within 30 days.
Set a date for volunteer submission of Lifestyle Tax within 30 days according to FBR notification at a rate of 1% of total wealth. Such volunteer submission of Lifestyle Tax can be granted some privileges by the government to inspire them and acknowledge their contribution.
Those who have not availed the opportunity of volunteer payment of Lifestyle Tax should be dealt with a crackdown based on database collected on the indicators of their wealth. The crackdown should collect 5% Lifestyle Tax out of such list of hidden elite club who are visible to whole country but invisible to FBR.
If we average out entire wealth of each member of elite club as worth of Rs 100 Million (10 Crore), which is still a very pessimistic estimate, government will be collecting Rs 1 Million from every member of 4 million members club as one time Lifestyle Tax.
CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT GOVERNMENT WILL BE COLLECTING OUT OF ONE TIME LIFESTYLE TAX FROM ELITE CLUB OF PAKISTAN?
IT IS 4000 BILLION OF RUPEES. IT WILL BE 30 BILLION DOLLAR. IS IT NOT BIGGER THAN CPEC, IMF, WORLD BANK AND US AID AND KSA AID?
This solution is not loan.
This solution is not a burden on 98% population of Pakistan.
This solution does not need years to collect but it can be collected in 3 months.
This solution might raise some screams out of pain by only 2 % elite club of Pakistan but these screams are nothing compared to dying children of THAR or 45 % under nutrition children of Pakistan.
Since this solution is without any help from actual government statistics or database so an error up to 20 % might be expected. However, even with 20 % error, the solution will fetch nearly 24 billion dollar in three months.
I don’t see much challenge to execute this solution except government’s will and competence of team leading such solution.
A task force of some outstanding and honest members from FBR, FIA, NAB, NADRA, Army, MPAs, MNAs, Senators, Navy, Air Force, Police, State Bank, ISI, IB and retired judges & bureaucrats can accomplish this task if they all believe in themselves and also ready to sacrifice a small portion of their wealth since each member is also expected to qualify for 1% LIFESTYLE Tax.
Nations change not by status quo, nations change by out of box solutions. Out of box solution will never come from status quo.
Our bureaucracy is mother of status quo. Government must choose some dynamic, honest, competent and sincere bureaucrats and sky is the limit. We need to stay away from so called economist and so-called experts who have only mastered in creating theories which never succeeded in real life. This is how they run their shops and sell their toothpaste (Manjin).
ONE TIME 1 % LIFESTYLE TAX CAN BE A SUCCESS STORY AND STARTING POINT OF CHANGE IN PAKISTAN AND FIRST STEP TOWARDS SELF RELIANCE.