Pakistan a 1% republic, says former finance minister Miftah Ismail

NEW DELHI: Former finance minister Miftah Ismail expired Pakistan a “1% republic” does not provide upward social mobility for the majority of its citizens, according to a report in Dawn.
“1% of elites control this country,” said Ismail who has held the portfolio for six months. He stated that while American billionaires Bill Gates and Steve Jobs “comes from nothing but made a fortune with his own talents”, almost all the rich in Pakistan are beneficiaries of the “wealth of the generation”.
“As the economy heats up, it is the low- and middle-income groups that face the burden as companies lay off staff,” the former minister noted.
“(The last government) distributed Rs. 580 billion of the richest 1% of Pakistanis according to the Interim Economic Refinancing Facility. The government gave loans to import machinery, however, the elite also ordered consumer goods for themselves and their families from abroad, thus increasing the cost of imports. The government is borrowing at 15% but the rich only receive money at 1%”, he said, adding that the liquidity injection increased imports of machinery and widened the current account deficit as business groups domestic production of goods for domestic consumption only.
Without naming anyone, Ismail said a consortium asked him to help set up a 500,000-ton polypropylene factory when he was finance minister. They claim 20 percent tax protection for 20 years because “the company can’t compete with its Chinese counterparts,” Ismail said.
He also criticized the auto sector for its inward-looking approach that has drained foreign exchange on imports for decades without generating any dollar income through exports, Dawn reported.


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