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‘For the first time in my life, I am losing hope for Pakistan’: Mian Mansha

ISLAMABAD: On Saturday, the government proclaimed that it will spread the 4% super tax charged on all those earning Rs500 million yearly to sponsor operation Zarb-e-Azb for one more year, going back on its promise that it would be an erstwhile charge.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar made the announcement in the middle of a blunt caution from one of the state’s most popular businessmen, Mian Mansha, who said terrorism could not be deep-seated out without generating more job chances.

They differed on almost all points except one – they explicitly settled that the media should be taken “under some control”. Both of them have lately endured subject of media criticism due to their business deals.

Dar stated that as the operation Zarb-e-Azb endures, the government will spread 4% super income tax for one more year from July this year. In the budget 2015-16, the federal government imposed a 4%, one-time, super tax on banking companies and 3% on individuals and other companies having an annual income of Rs500 million. It has estimated earning Rs22 billion from the levy.

Mansha, the owner of Nishat Group, criticised against the burden of super tax on banks – a demand Dar rejected, counselling the billionaire to have a big heart and subsidise to the state that made him rich. Mansha was of the view that making money was his legitimate right.

Dar said that the price of reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons and security augmentation was over Rs230 billion.

Mansha said that terrorism could not be rooted out until the government created more job opportunities. His statement came just days after the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif wanted removal of corrupt practices as a pre-condition for smearing out terrorism.

Mansha said that it was great time for the administration to accept expansionary economic policies, as three to four million people were inflowing the job market every year but many continued jobless.

The government faces disapproval for applying taut fiscal and economic strategies during the last three years, overpowering economic growth, which has continued below the desirable rate of 7% to generate employments for all.

“I have been hearing for the last 50 years, particularly during budget times, that the country was passing through a crisis and often wondered when things would turn around,” said Mansha. “I am now losing hope, for the first time in my life.”

Mansha emphasised many general errors that continue unaddressed. He said that the state’s power sector was not maintainable without lecturing the original grounds of globular balance.

“The government is recovering only 70% of the billed amount. What will happen to the finances when power generation doubles in the next few years?” he questioned.

“They recover Rs70 out of Rs100 but talk about mega power and infrastructure projects,” said Mansha while taking a jibe at the government’s claim of adding 10,000 megawatts to the national grid in the next two years. The power plants are running only up to 60% of their capacity, he added.

Mansha stated that the government could neither advance productivity nor privatise state-owned enterprises. “It has already shut down the Pakistan Steel Mills and Pakistan International Airlines would eventually follow,” foretold the top industrialist.