Millions and Crores - By: Munir M. Hasan, PhD

This is the month of May in which the government of Pakistan keeps itself busy in a useless exercise of preparing the annual budget for the country. This assessment of being useless is because of the fact that nobody acts on it. Just to give a few examples of its uselessness, the figures of the budget keep changing throughout the year. The targets are never met. The income side of the budget remains always below the target and the non-developmental expenditures are always on the “much” higher side. The developmental funds are never spent to their budgetary allocations. Nobody knows where the remaining developmental funds go. Even if somebody knows it, he cannot speak in order to save his life. Many mega projects are announced in public gathering without any provisions in the budget. In fact, in such cases the budgetary provisions are not necessary because these projects are announced only to make the people happy and are not meant to be executed. Taxes are levied and/or changed immediately after the formal approval of the budget. Import and export targets have no match with the budgetary provisions.

On top of it, the budget is purposely made so confusing that, what to speak of the illiterate persons, even the educated persons find it difficult to understand it. It is done intentionally so that if any critic finds some fault in it, he may be satisfied with some more confusing statements.

There is one simple example of making the budget confusing. While many attractive statements and articles are published in the newspapers, assuring that the people will prosper as a result of this budget, the figures are not easily understood. Sometimes the figures are quoted in millions or billions of rupees and sometimes in crores (tens of millions) of rupees. Sometimes the amount is mentioned in rupees and sometimes in US dollars. Why should not it be? After all Pakistani budget is composed of handsome international income (loans and grants) along with some local income, and is meant for everyone irrespective of the consideration whether a person has received his or her school education from an English medium or an Urdu medium school.

Posted on May 09, 17 | 2:38 am