Haves and Have Nots: Who’s responsible ?


Top and bottom 1% together

Around 400,000 such persons (lying on the street above) can be fed for a day, with the amount of money spend on this car.  If you love cars, that’s one thing, but otherwise, are you part of this income disparity or against it ?

Now, check out following Income disparity comparison around the world. Red being greater inequality and Blue less and Purple in the middle.

gini map twotonefull pos.jpg

 

Have a look at this short video clip:

 

Ever wondered, why we see vast difference between haves and have nots, in almost every country. Rich are filthy rich (no offense), while poor living in extreme poverty. Rich throw half of the food eg in Saudi, when they’re full, while poor eat half meal to their satisfaction, once a week in Somalia. Some have made cars with gold, while others spend their life pondering how to accumulate gold for their girls marriage in India. Some go on vacation in Spain with entourage of more than 3000, while others save money his whole life to perform Haj (Pilgrimage) travel to Makkah, with two or three family members.

Let’s take a look at some startling facts:

  • Just like in America, the wealthiest 0.5% control over 35% of world wealth, Credit Suisse has compiled and released its latest “Global Wealth Report.”
  • “The combined wealth of the world’s 200 richest people hit $1,000,000,000,000 in 1999; the combined incomes of the 582,000,000 people living in the 43 least developed countries is $146,000,000,000.”
  • Pakistan’s 36,000 elite millionaires owns 40% of Pakistan’s total wealth (Rs. 2,118 billion) as per SBP report.
  • I remember, in 2011, US dumped food worth $6 billion, because it doesn’t want to disrupt global food price, if it gives on charity to any country.
  • “The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.”
  • “The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (of the world’s countries) is less than the combined wealth of the world’s 3 richest people.”
  • “The wealthiest nation on Earth has the widest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation. “
  • “20% of the population in developed nations consume 86% of the world’s goods.”
  • “It would cost approximately $40 billion to offer basic education, clean water and sanitation, reproductive health for women, and basic health and nutrition to every person in every developing country.”
  • The number of U.S. residents living in poverty edged up to 46,000,000 in 2012
  • The richest 1 percent of the population received almost a fifth of the national households’ income in 2012, thus breaking the previous record set in 1928.
  • 870 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.
  • The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.
  • According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
  • “The developing world now spends $13.00 on debt repayment for every $1.00 it receives in grants.”
  • We normally pay 10 times more on a meal, while we can eat ourselves modestly and instead feed 9 people with rest of the money.

Now take a look at the situation of debt of the majority of population and find how it’s skyrocketing for the poor and falling for the rich. This clearly tells us that rich are getting richer and poor are getting poor. I heard ‘Interest’ or what we call it as ‘Riba’ has such effect ? Following data is from US trends, to elucidate the point, rest of the world has similar picture.

Growing income inequality has led to ballooning debt loads for the bottom 95% of Americans.

Now look at the income disparity graph as an example from US, over the decades and see how the Top 1% progressed in it’s income and how the bottom percentiles have remained subdued, effectively increasing the divide between haves and have nots over those years.

Picture speaks a thousand words, I’ll leave following photos to your imaginations.

I will never waste my food 

“It would cost approximately $40 billion to offer basic education, clean water and sanitation, reproductive health for women, and basic health and nutrition to every person in every developing country.”

Did that happen all of a sudden ? Why did that happen in the first place ? Should we hold ‘Haves’ accountable or are the ‘Have nots’ culprit themselves ?

Sources & Further Readings:

http://myscienceacademy.org/2013/09/13/us-inequality-at-historic-high-surpassing-roaring-20s/

http://www.massrecycle.org/getinvolved/advocacy/organics-waste-ban

http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats

http://www.facethefactsusa.org/facts/supersized-hunger-pangs-supersized-waste-infographic

http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/02/news/economy/income-debt-inequality/

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/05/income-inequality-around-the-world-is-a-failure-of-capitalism/238837/

How facebook generate so much revenue, when it’s free ?


In the meanwhile, did anyone notice, Facebook market capitalisation is exceeding $60 billion, with over 1 billion users.  Imagine, if every user just pay a penny, for an hour long ad for a day, FB would generate  $100million in just one hour. Then imagine, full day revenue, week and year, and even if you take 10% of the FB user population, it’s easy money. Their usual ad cost is around $5 (minimum) for a day.

I was wondering earlier, how come they afford to pay for the sms’s, if I configure SMS-based notification for login eg, Note: Like everyone else, I also don’t pay anything to FB for my use. So, where do they get money to pay for billions of sms of their users, free of charge ? And money for extremely large infrastructure and facilities in many cities ? I guess, I need to research on it.

Iftar buffet dinners in Ramazan – Extravagance ?


I thought, that over the years, with a lot of awareness, through TV shows, articles on newspapers and social media, people are avoiding lavish ‘iftars’ (breaking fast at sunset) during ramazan. But to my surprise, there is no stopping.

I was invited by a friend to meet in the evening and have iftaar+dinner together. I reached there around an hour early, but there was a long queue of cars to enter the hotel. I saw so many cars worth 10 times my car and full of people, took me 15 minutes in the queue. Gave the car to the valet and entered to see my friend. While I was waiting at the lobby, I saw many people around. It turned out, there is some corporate invitation and one restaurant was completely booked for it. Here comes my friend, excited, greeted and hugged, since we met after quite some time. It was very nice seeing him. He took me inside one restaurant downstairs, but we were stopped at the entrance, asking for a booking. It was a fairly large restaurant, but was fully booked. Then, my friend used his selling skills and somehow managed to convince the manager and we got the table for 2 at the corner, btw he was staying at this hotel as well. Minutes later, the whole restaurants was filled with guys and families and children and it became too noisy. We grabbed some food, I started off with my favourite starter for ‘iftaar’ – Pakora. Then added some ‘channa chaat’, fruit chaat and ‘dahi baray‘ and returned to our table, where ‘Rooh Afza – sharbat and other drinks were already placed for us.

Here’s a how a typical home-made ifar looks like. I have labeled each item. They are the most common dishes used in Iftar in Pakistan.

typical iftar dishes karachi

I hardly saw people saying duwa (prayers), as it was actually high time for prayers getting accepted. Instead everyone was running, to grab his/her favourite food in time and bring on the table 🙂  Some, were running to enter the restaurants, as they must have got stuck in the traffic jam. I saw many people sitting alone on the table, as if their dates have ditched them 🙂 , but actually they are waiting for others to join (who might be stuck in the traffic). ‘Azaan’ (call for prayer) said, at the time of sunset, and everyone starts eating dates and then the food they had brought. Many people entered the restaurant as late as 20 minutes, past the time of iftar. I thought, there would be many people from companies, but they were mostly families.

Obviously, it is an amazing feeling of having the luxury of eating anything you want, after 16 hours of fasting (not eating). Everyone, including myself wanted to eat as much as possible, or at least taste everything. However, soon everyone realizes that after eating 5-6 items, you feel completely full. And then you overeat, where you feel like eating, while your stomach is full. Additionally, where you want to make the most of the occasion and make the most of your money spent.

The per head cost of the buffet dinner was Rs 1700 and we were discussing, there are around 1000 people, which means Rs. 1.7 million is spent in just two hours, in one restaurant and we were astounded ourselves at the figure.

So, while driving back home, I started to reflect back on the event. Fasting is supposed to instill a desire to help those who are less fortunate, by sharing food and wealth with them.  I thought, we learn to sacrifice our hunger for the will of God,  learn patience, learn to abstain from all evil acts, and specially learn, how it feels like to be hungry and better relate to the poor, who can only eat one or two times a day and thus appreciate the blessing of God, who has provided you with food and resources abundantly. It’s a month for us to be humble and give charity. Then, I compared my friend paid Rs 1700 per person for that meal.  Imagine, there are around 200 such restaurants in Karachi and almost all would be full in the same way. So, 200 restaurants times say 200 average capacity, times Rs1000 average cost, which means we spend Rs. 40 million in just one day in Karachi, in fact one meal and that is on a lower side estimate.

Imagine, if I multiply it with 30 days of Ramazan – Rs.1,200,000,000 (1.2 billion), money we spent in eating one meal in Ramazan in Karachi ??

I had started food charity drive with friends, for the past 5 months, where we provide poor people with dinner for Rs. 5, while it cost us Rs. 30. So, for Rs. 1.7m a day, I can feed around 1.3 million poor a day. We could virtually eliminate poverty in the country, in a month. So, compare this, the charity food is healthy, and filling and cost Rs 30, while we ate at a lavish restaurant by spending Rs 1700 (we spent 5600% more). Do you still think, it is not extravagance and you will not be questioned by God, how you spent the money, that He provided. Everyone is tested in this world, different test for rich and different for the poor. Rich naturally, are accountable more, as they are given more, another reason, I tend not to have more.

Let’s look at some of the crazy facts of Ramazan:

  • Almost everyone say, we gain weight during ramazan ? What,Gain! After staying away from food for 15 hours out of 24 hours, you gain weight ?
  • Price for food items increases, during the month of ramazan ? I thought, we are supposed to fast whole day, ie not eat and there would be less demand. Then, how come the price increases ?

And then we wonder, why there is so much poverty, why there is so much hunger, why there is so much unrest in the society, why there is so much inequality and why there is so much hate? Aren’t we inflicting injustice in the society ourselves, this way. Spending wastefully in food is just one example. How do we spend on clothing, cars, homes, furniture and the list is never ending. First we accumulate money and stash it, then we spend it wastefully. Aren’t we told to keep the money flowing, aren’t we told to distribute the money among poor, aren’t we told to pay zakat (2.5% of our savings) and aren’t we told to spend wisely from the wealth, God has entrusted us ? Then, these facts must not be surprising, when we follow all social customs of iftar, while ignoring the teachings and principles of Ramazan and Fasting, how could we possibly get the benefit of Fasting  – both spiritual and worldly.

Here are some background quotes, supporting these points, from Quran:

“Look how We have favored [in provision] some of them over others. ” Quran 17:21

Meaning in this world, so that some are rich and some are poor, and others are in between. Poor will be tested for their patience, while rich will be tested for how they use God’s bounties.

“Truly, your Lord expands the provision for whom He wills and straitens (for whom He wills).” Quran 17:30 

This Ayah is telling us that Allah is the One Who provides or withholds, the Bestower Who is running the affairs of His creation as He wills. He makes rich whomever He wills, and He makes poor whomever He wills, by the wisdom that is His.

“O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying and going round the Ka’bah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifin (those who waste by extravagance).” (Quran 7:31, Surah Al-A’raf)  

Explanation: There were people who used to perform Tawaf around the House while naked, and Allah ordered them to take adornment, meaning, wear clean, proper clothes that cover the private parts. people were commanded to wear their best clothes when performing every prayer. Hadith: “Eat what you wish and wear what you wish, as long as you avoid two things: extravagance and arrogance.” Prophet said: “The Son of Adam will not fill a pot worse for himself than his stomach. It is enough for the Son of Adam to eat a few bites that strengthens his spine. If he likes to have more, then let him fill a third with food, a third with drink and leave a third for his breathing.”

“And give to the kinsman (relatives) his due & to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer (traveller).”  

According to Prophet Muhammad (saw): “Your mother and your father, then your closest relatives and the next closest.”

But spend not wastefully in the manner of a spendthrift (extravagance). Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan is ever ungrateful to his Lord. And if you [must] turn away from the needy awaiting mercy from your Lord which you expect, then speak to them a gentle word.”

(17:26 , 27 & 28 Surah Al-Isra’, Qur’an)

So, these are some points I was thinking about and wanted to share. Btw, I wrote a blog earlier, if you want to read as well, on similar topic: Extravagance or ‘Israaf’ something we need to be careful about

Want to learn more about Fasting or Ramadan:

http://www.fastramadan.com/10_points_for_fasting.php

Where to spend your ‘zakat’ (charity)


It is a month of ‘ramzam’, where our good deeds are multiplied manifold for its rewards, so consequently, majority of muslims give their ‘zakat'(alms) in this month. I see a plethora of ads, billboards, pamphlets where they are requesting for zakat money. No doubt, pakistanis are most philanthropists, but everyone seems to be jumping to cash on it.

We should remember, that zakat should be given in the form of money, so that the receiver has the complete authority to spend it the way he/she likes, ie to fulfil any of his/her most important need. Or in other words, you cannot buy food, or goods with zakat money and give to these poor people. The idea being, Zakat is poor person’s right, not something you give to oblige him/her, it’s their right. Unlike zakat, you are free to give other charities, and how much you want to give and in what form you want to give, eg charities like ‘sadqua’, ‘khairaat’, etc.

But ‘zakat’ is obligatory. Let me brief you about its basic rulings for Zakat. I have included only common points, while skipping others. Obviously I could not cover this topic comprehensively in one blog post, so don’t take this as comprehensive guide to cover every scenario. However, I will share link at the bottom, should you need to read further.

zakat, 2.5%, gift, charity, alms

Linguistically, ZAKAT has two meanings: purification and growth. Technically, it means to purify ones possession of wealth by distributing a prescribed amount to the poor, the indigent, the slaves or captives, and the wayfarer.

Who has to give:

It is obligatory for an adult who has saved more than *87 grams (7.5 tola) of gold or it’s equivalent cash or assets (that grows in value), continuously over a period of a year.

* 87 grams of Gold is ‘Nisab’.

Who can receive it:

I have listed only 5 common persons, we usually give zakat to:

  • Fuqaraa: Those who own property in excess of basic necessities but below the value of Nisab.
  • Masakeen: Persons of extreme poverty who possess no wealth whatsoever.
  • Aamileen: (Zakat collector) Those persons who are appointed by an Islamic Head of State or Government to collect Zakat. It is not necessary that this be a needy person.
  • Muallafatul Quloob: Those poor and needy persons who are given Zakat with the intentions of solidifying their hearts because they maybe recently converted to Islam or to bring them closer to Islam.
  • Al Ghaarimeen: A person whose debts exceeds his assets and his net assets (after deducting his liabilities) is below the Nisab limit. To determine whether a person qualifies, his basic necessities of life (house, furniture, clothes, vehicle, etc.) will not be taken into account. It is conditional that the debts were not created for any un-Islamic or sinful purpose.

Benefits of Zakat: 

  • It reminds Muslims of the fact that whatever wealth they may possess is due to the blessings of Allah and as such it is to be spent according to the His commands.
  • Zakat functions as a social security for all. Those who have enough money today pay for what they have. If they need money tomorrow they will get what is necessary to help them live decently.
  • Zakat payer pays his dues to Allah as an act of worship, a token of submission and an acknowledgment of gratitude. The receiver of Zakat receives it as a grant from Allah out of His bounty, a favor for which he is thankful to Allah.
  • Economically, Zakat is the best check against hoarding. Those who do not invest their wealth but prefer to save or hoard it would see their wealth dwindling year after year at the rate of the payable Zakat. This helps increase production and stimulates supply because it is a redistribution of income that enhances the demand by putting more real purchasing power in the hands of poor.

Allah says in the Quran: “The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn. It grows seven ears and each ear has hundred grains. Allah increases manifold to whom He pleases.” (Quran 2:261)

charity, alms, zakat

Other questions:

Who cannot be given Zakat?

What kinds of things require paying Zakat on them?

Other assets exempt from Zakat

Zakat calculator 

Further reading (& sources):

http://www.hidaya.org/publications/zakat-information/

http://zakatpages.com/faqs/

http://www.islamawareness.net/Zakat/whatzakat.html

Wondering why so much hype about Turkish protest ?


After noticing protest in Turkey all over the news, I began to wonder what’s the actual story behind it. That’s unfortunately how I always feel, thanks to the reputation of MSM, which presents mostly what’s not true.

First, like most of the global readers and observers, I started to develop sympathy for the people of Turkey, who were protesting for saving an old park in Gezi. That was based on what I read and saw stories of suppression at a large scale. I felt sorry for them and became apprehensive of the government of Erdogan and specially the way he was handling the growing resentment of the protesters and their plight against state oppression. But as the people grew in number and the protest prolonged and became a mainstream news everywhere, I began to wonder, is that the only reason?

  • How come so many people from around the country protest to save a park ?
  • Why would people protest in large numbers, against the ban of ads and sale of alcohol during 10pm to 6am, in a 99% muslim country ? Note, alcohol is forbidden in Islam.
  • How come environmentalist are willing to sacrifice their life to protect a heritage park?

So, I wondered there’s lot more than meets the eye through MSM. Then, someone shared an article from Turkish’s local newspaper, which says Erdogan is doing aways with the IMF loans once and for all, and for the first time in Turkey’s history. Then, started to researched more on the net to find what could be the real reason for this new and I came accross many articles and specifically following facts.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Tenure For the Turks:

This is what I compiled from Wikipedia. Read them through and try to connect the dots, to find what’s going on.

  • Since 1961, Turkey has signed 19 IMF loan accords. Erdoğan‘s government satisfied the budgetary and market requirements of the two on his watch and received every loan installment, the only time any government has ever done so.[59] Erdoğan inherited a debt of $23.5 billion to the IMF, which has been reduced to $0.9 billion in 2012. He decided not to sign a new deal. Turkey’s debt to the IMF will be completely paid off in 2013.[60]
  • As a teenager, he sold lemonade and sesame buns (simit) on the streets of Istanbul’s rougher districts to earn extra money.[10]
  • In 2002, the Turkish Central Bank had $26.5 billion in reserves. This amount reached $92.2 billion in 2011. In the same period, inflation fell from 34.9% to 5.7%, the lowest in 39 years.[63]
  • In December 2008 he criticised the I Apologize campaign by Turkish intellectuals to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, saying that “I neither accept nor support this campaign. We did not commit a crime, therefore we do not need to apologize… It will not have any benefit other than stirring up trouble, disturbing our peace and undoing the steps which have been taken.”[29]
  • Erdoğan passed a partial amnesty to reduce penalties faced by many members of the Kurdish guerrilla movement PKK who had surrendered to the government.[27]
  • The water shortage problem was solved with the laying of hundreds of kilometers of new pipelines. The garbage problem was solved with the establishment of state-of-the-art recycling facilities. While Erdoğan was in office, air pollution was reduced through a plan developed to switch to natural gas. He changed the public buses with environmentally friendly buses. The city’s traffic and transportation jams were ameliorated with more than fifty bridges, viaducts, and highways. Erdoğan prohibited the sale of alcohol in city-owned facilities, but later this measure was reversed. While taking precautions to prevent corruption, he took measures to ensure that municipal funds were used prudently. He paid back a major portion of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality‘s two billion dollar debt when he took office and meanwhile invested four billion dollars in the city.[18]
  • Erdoğan passed a partial amnesty to reduce penalties faced by many members of the Kurdish guerrilla movement PKK who had surrendered to the government.[27]
  • Erdoğan tried to attract more foreign investors to Turkey and lifted most of government regulations, with the average GDP growth rate 7.3% during his premiership as he presided over a record 26 quarters of economic growth.[58]
  • Early in his prime ministership, Erdoğan increased the budget of the Ministry of Education from 7.5 billion lira in 2002 to 34 billion lira in 2011, making it the ministry with highest share of the national budget.[66]  Before his prime ministership, the military received the highest share of the national budget.
  • In 2004, textbooks became free of charge and since 2008 every province in Turkey has its own university.[70] During Erdoğan’s prime ministership, the number of universities in Turkey nearly doubled, from 98 in 2002 to 186 as of October 2012.[71]

After looking at these facts, I fail to understand why would the majority protest against him and his government ? Though, it makes a lot of sense, that global powers who try to control every government and try to amass world’s money, would not like Turkey getting self sufficient and Erdogan getting stronger by day, and getting himself re-elected for the third time and planning to establish an islamic system of governance – Khilafah (repeating history, by establishing history’s largest reign of empire). It’s also said that Erdogan has started to take strong actions against military, and foiled several coup attempts against him. And we also remember, when he walked out of the debate during World Economic Forum and the support of palestinians through sending Flotilla ship.

I was able to map similar story, that happened in Pakistan, when Pervez Musharraf was almost about to relieve Pakistan of IMF loans, he was entangled into non-issues, and eventually had to resign and the country never recovered from the position, where he propelled the country to an unimaginable growth.

I also double-checked with Turkish locals on my friend’s list and they also confirmed that the protest does not represent majority and part of it is fueled by the terrorist outfits (like PKK) and majority of people support Erdogan’s policies, who are not showing up in the streets. If I take all other factors aside, which obviously I don’t know, the best solution for Erdogan would be to call up a referendum and get a vote of confidence for himself. 

So, this is what was able to research so far and wanted to share with you all. With the passage of time, it will be evident, what exactly is truth.

Sources:

http://english.sabah.com.tr/economy/2013/05/06/how-did-erdogan-free-turkey-from-the-imf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recep_Tayyip_Erdo%C4%9Fan

Pricing in today’s market – Seller is the King


While reading today’s newspaper, I noticed two ads, which resulted in an inspiration for this blog.

I saw following ad of Samsung Galaxy S4, considered top of the line smartphone, at a price of Rs. 72,000.

DSC_1587

Then I noticed following, the offer of new Sony LCD 46′ TV, which is considered top of the line TV, for Rs. 59,899. 

 DSC_1586

Now, compare the price of a 46 inches TV for 60,000 versus a 4 inches Smartphone for 72,000. I am not sure about the exact cost of manufacturing each of these items, but from it’s size, it certainly tells,  that cost is the not the driving factor for selling price, but it’s largely dependant on demand & supply relation. In fact it is that invisible ‘value’ (what we call as brand image), that becomes the driving force. It is not as bad, at this stage.

But, if you take into account the underlying facts, that in today’s largely oligopoly market, only few large players govern the market, while the consumers have a weak say, or you can say, we have a disruption of free-market economy today. Smartphones market today is in fact a duopoly market, controlled by Apple and Samsung, with 98% market share of smart and feature phones. They are able to survive, as they leverage their broad penetration in the horizontal smartphones supply chain, which allows them greater profitability against their competitors, who are only assembling. It becomes fairly hard, if not impossible, for other players to compete with equal opportunity, in such a situation.

Although, Islam promotes free-market economy and does not allow price control, so that both seller’s and buyers interest is protected, and there’s no injustice. But to ensure that skilled market operators do not take any advantage of an unsuspecting customer’s ignorance and naivety, for example, in situations like that of duopoly, where consumer interest is hurt, price control becomes important.  But such price control again is allowed, when we are talking about commodities which are necessities, and I am sure, smartphones are far from it.

So, we have to live with TV for Rs. 60, 000 and Smartphone for Rs.70,000, while we know that chipsets and display screens are the most expensive items.

Seller is always right ! 🙂

Sources:

http://i-epistemology.net/attachments/404_V11N1%20Spring%2094%20-%20kamali1%20-%20Tasir%20-%20Price%20Control%20-%20in%20Islamic%20Law.pdf

http://www.asymco.com/2012/12/03/samsung-electronics-product-line-revenues-and-operating-income-in-context/

Pakistan Govt. Budget proposed for 2013-14


There are some popular and unpopular aspects of this budget. Though it is mostly said to burden the middle-class through increase in income tax and indirect taxes like GST, WHT etc. but there are still other measures which would help the general populace. Let’s hope the good measures are implemented and the Opposition helps to maneuver the government against unpopular measures and compel to undertake more important measures that is required to overcome our economic challenges.

Here are some key highlights of the budget:

Good aspects: 

• PSDP Rs1,155bn; up by 35.7pc
• 3G licences to be auctioned in July
• Outstanding amount of $800 million from Etisalat for sale of PTCL to be recovered
• Circular debt to be addressed in 60 days
• Japan to extend support in revival of Circular Railway in Karachi
• Rs57bn for investment on human capital; including higher education and immunisation
• 1,000 colonies for low income groups; each with 500 houses
• Pensions to be increased by 10pc. No raise in salaries.
• Minimum pension raised from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000
• Expenditure of PM Office reduced from Rs726m to Rs396m
• Austerity drive to save Rs40bn.

Unpopular measures:

• Increase in indirect taxes as opposed to direct tax, which means more burden on middle-class as opposed to rich.
• GST increased from 16pc to 17pc
• Corporate tax to be reduced in 5 years from 35pc to 30pc
• Pakistan Railways to be converted into a corporation
• Tax slab on salaries up from 25pc on Rs2.5m to 35pc on Rs6.5m

Required More Importantly: 

• Bring rich people and large corporations under tax net
• Do away with IMF and other foreign loans gradually, to reduce the burden of interest payment on debts, which is currently whopping 30% of the budget.
• Tax agriculture sector, which accounts for 23% of GDP, largely untaxed.
• Drastically increase spending on education and health sector.

Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad of Daily Pakistan Today has presented some startling figures collected by NADRA last year, which show only the tip of the iceberg. According to these figures: 

  • There are 1.611 million people who frequently embark on international tours but do not pay a single penny as income tax.
  • About 584,730 Pakistanis have multiple accounts in domestic and multinational banks, but do not possess NTNs.
  • Over 56,000 people live in posh areas and more than 20,000 people own luxury cars, still pay no income tax.
  • There are 66,736 individual consumers who pay large utility bills, but no income tax.
  •  More than 13,000 people have licenses of both prohibited and non-prohibited weapons, but they do not possess an NTN.
  • There are 25,130 people who are engaged in lucrative professions like medicine, engineering, law and chartered accountancy, but they do not pay a single penny as income tax.
  • Nearly three million people possess a National Tax Number (NTN), but only 1.4 million of them filed income tax returns last year.

I have written another post on Pakistan Budget and the distribution of expenses, specialy the effect of foreign loans (eg from the notorious IMF). You can read here.

Sources & Further Reading:

http://beta.dawn.com/news/1017795/budget-2013-14-visualised

http://urdumail.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/welcome-to-pakistan-a-paradise-for-tax-dodgers/

Pakistan’s Economic Expenditure Prudence – Budget 2012-13


Budget at a glance

Budget distribution at a glance

As they say, picture is worth a thousand words, so I made the picture first and it’s more or less self-explanatory.

Here is my key observation, when I first tried to understand the budget:

  1. Around Rs. 1 trillion (‘kharab’) is spent on debt servicing (interest payment alone) in 1 year.
  2. I thought, our major portion of revenue goes to Defence sector ?

Additionally, when we spend our fortune in debt servicing (read interest payment), naturally how are we going to have funds to invest in education, lack of which, is the MOTHER OF ALL ISSUES WE FACE TODAY. Secondly, looking at the fact that majority of our population does not have access to the basic health services, eg we have estimated 140,000 doctors and 120,000 beds in healthcare facilities, in the country, that makes the ratio of hospital bed to population as 6:10,000 and doctor to people 1:1000 roughly. Now, compare how much we are spending on health sector to improve the situation, a measly Rs 8 billion for a population of 180 million.

budgetatgalance

And lastly, we should be shrewd, not to rely on foreign aid and donor agencies, like Paris Club, IMF, or enter into multilateral agreements for foreign countries, which we can easily see, is quite far from an aid and in fact a major cause of all resulting burden to the economy, in the form of – inflation, poverty, lack of development funds for education, social uplift, unemployment, and eventually developing a sense of hopelessness in the society. It’s estimated that we have to pay ~$5billion, in the form of debt servicing, to IMF alone, ie a burden of Rs. 500 billion to the exchequer. With Pakistan’s debt hovering at an alarming rate of 68% of GDP, and external debt at $62 billion (Rs. 6.2 trillion), how are we going to survive, is a daunting question for the new incumbent government. If I start to research about each of these foreign loan agreements and their terms, I am sure, I would have startling facts there as well, like how much we are taking as loan and how much we end up paying over decades, while remaining slaves, accepting dictates from those foreign governments.

We were told 1400 years ago, that we could not benefit from either giving or using interest (usury), but we tend to neglect history. We were clearly explained that interest creates economic disparity and divides the society into haves and have-nots eventually. And now we see individuals in the world like Warren Buffet, with $60 billions, can possibly buy many countries many times over.

Wealth distribution in Pakistan is no different, with the top 10% of the population earning 27.6% and the bottom 10% earning only 4.1% of the income[10]  According to the HDI, 60.3% of Pakistan’s population lives on under $2 a day, which is like 100 million people.

How long are we going to call a war against God and His Messenger (‘nauzobillah’), while trying to justify the use of interest (‘riba’ or usury). It’s evident, that we going nowhere, but harming ourselves.

We don’t need a genius to sort our issues out, anyone with a genuine ‘will’ to serve the nation, can correct our direction and bring prosperity back to the nation.

Think!

I have written another analysis on Pakistan Budget 2013, listing it’s pros and cons and what is most important. You can read here.

 

Sources and Further Reading:

http://www.sbp.org.pk/ecodata/pakdebtsvr.pdf

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=130030

http://www.finance.gov.pk/publications/DPS_12.pdf