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Posted on: Monday, May 11, 2015

A Pre-Budget Seminar on State of the “Economy and Federal Budget 2015-16 was held by Centre for Policy Studies, CIIT on 6th May,2015 at Serena Hotel Islamabad. Around 150 participants from academia, civil society and government includingRector, CIIT,Dr. Syed Junaid Zaidi and senior faculty attended the seminar. The seminar was also attended by the faculty and students ofWah and Lahore Campuses on their locations through Video Link. Ambassador FauziaNasreen,Head, Centre for Policy Studies presented the welcome address and highlighted the importance ofthe seminarand the federal budget.

Rana MuhammadAfzal Khan Federal ParliamentarySecretary, Ministry of Financewas the Chief Guest. The chief guest appreciated the role of Centre for Policy Studies, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology for organizing this important event. He said that the seminar is taking place the right time when our government is going to announce its third budget for fiscal year 2015-16. He emphasized the role of universities in Policy Formulation and said that the participant swill make concrete budget proposals for the forthcoming 2015-16.

The chief guest said that we inherited an ill economy when assumed power in May 2013. The economic growth rates were very low around less than 3% per annumand inflation was in double digit at12% per annum. He said that a positive economic change is in the offing as the government is focusing on energy and IT, Textile Surgical goods and Agricultural services. You will have noticed that economic decline has arrested and the country is now on the path of an economic recovery as the last year growth rate was 4.1%.We have a long term vision and our vision 2025 is aimed taking us from lower middle income countries to higher middle income with sustainable economic growth of 7-8%.

Rana Mohammad Afzalemphasized that globalization offer enormous opportunities to our graduates in the universities. Great opportunities exist for potential investors in our growing IT and telecom sector. CIIT that has emerged as a premier institution of higher education in Pakistan can play a vital role in fetching these opportunities.

Dr. PervaizTahir, former Chief Economist, Planning Commission remarked that following the economic history of Pakistan we should not succumb to the “feel good” factors of the economy. We should be more economically independent. Moreover the GDP is not a measure of progress and happiness is the real yardstick.

Mr. Mohammad Zubair, Minister of state for Privatization stressed the value of professional economic journalism and rejected the allegations of dictations by IMF in policy formulation of Pakistan. Pakistan is presently making progress against tribal militancy, maturity in politics and relative freedom of press and judiciary.

Dr. Ashfaq Hassan Khan observed that we are caught by the debt trap, both foreign and domestic debts along with poor growth performance with civil unrest. He further said that the importance of investment climate rests on macroeconomic policy, good governance and infrastructure. All of them are on the decline since the last few years.

Dr. Vaqar Ahmed SDPIsaid the state of trade and balance of payment is not encouraging and commented that trade openness measured as percent of GDP has declined recently. Moreover, Pakistan is lagging behind in export sophistication.

Mr. ArifAllaudin FormerManaging Director, ENERCON surveyed the energy issues of Pakistan he suggested measures like greater coordination infrastructure regulation intuitional development and short-medium energy targets.

Dr. SaniaNishterof Heart File Islamabad underscored the importance of fiscal planning, accountability transparency and effective implementation.

Mr. SakibSherani expressed his views on fiscal devolution and fiscal space and rationalizationof expenditure.

Dr. Hafiz A. Pashaunderscored the importance of tax reforms. Dr. Pasha said that people think that why should we pay taxes when the powerful people are not paying. He said that 38,000 out of 62,000 registered companies are not filing their tax and only 98 companies are paying 70% of the corporate tax. More than half of the individual tax payers are not paying the taxes only 3% personal tax payers are paying 70% of the personal tax. He questioned whyIPPs have been granted life time exemptions from tax. There is no equity in the taxation system as 70% tax revenue occurs from indirect taxes. There is mismatch between federal and provincial tax rates. There is very less tax collection from real estate and rental property. He recommended radical tax reforms in the corporate sector.

In the end,Dr. Talat Anwar, Centre for Policy Studies, CIIT presented the Pre-Budget proposal for 2015-16 and emphasized on the need for tax forms by removing distortions in the taxation and improving the documentation of economic sector, both federal and provincial governments can raise sufficient additional tax revenues. There are numerous exemptions to rich and influential in the taxation through SROs that needs to be removed. Human conditions remained poor because education and health remain the neglected sectors so far in Pakistan. The already low allocation to higher education declined in recent year. The country cannot progress and fetch global opportunities unless adequate resources are allocated to higher education. The allocation for education including both federal and provincial should be raised currently from 1.8% of GDP to 2% of the GDP in the forthcoming budget. Similarly allocation for health should be increased currently from 0.7% of GDP to 1% of GDP in the next budget.

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Centre for Policy Studies
CUI IRM Building, Park Road
Chak Shehzad Islamabad.


Phone: +92 (51) 8435054
(Ext.) 117
Fax: +92 (51) 111-001-007


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