ISLAMABAD: Pakistans latest Economic Survey has revealed that the country is bracing towards a massive and widespread joblessness due to the lockdowns and restrictions, required to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Pakistan Economic Survey 2019-20 has estimated a staggering number of 1.4 million to 18.53 million people going jobless in the country. The survey maintains that the ongoing restrictions and lockdowns due to coronavirus may see at least 2.2 per cent of the country’s employed workforce going jobless, while in case of a lockdown under limited restrictions, the numbers of joblessness in the country would hover around 1.4 million.
In monetary terms, the overall job loss would interpret into at least PKR 23.6 billion. And in case of a moderate lockdown, the job loss may come up to at least PKR 12.3 million, while at least 20 per cent of the labour category would suffer a wage loss of at least PKR 209.6 million.
On the other hand, a complete lockdown would interpret to push at least 18.53 million people, which is about 30 per cent of the labour force to unemployment, which job losses worth at least PKR 315 billion.
Federal budget 2019-20: Govt. imposes hidden taxes:
At a time when the world is in recession, Pakistan Federal government announced the country’s annual budget worth PKR 7,294.9 billion, claiming that the new budget has been given without any new taxes.
However, financial experts have revealed that the government has in fact slapped at least PKR 200 billion worth of additional taxes, aimed at achieving PKR 4,963 trillion target, calling it a wishful approach to achieve the unachievable.
“At least PKR 120 billion additional income tax measures have been proposed by the government, yet it claims that no tax burden has been put on the people,” said economic expert Shahbaz Rana.
“Similarly, around PKR 80 billion sales tax measures have been taken in addition to the additional revenues being generated from federal excise duty measures cigarettes and energy drinks,” he added.
Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, while presenting the budget on Friday, claimed that no new taxes have been imposed. However, according to the Finance Bill 2020, PKR 100,000 to PKR 200,000 luxury tax on land with covered area of over 1,000 sq, yards residential homes has been introduced while PKR 25 per square foot to PKR 80 per square foot on farm houses has been introduced.
Defence Budget increased by 11.9 per cent:
The Imran Khan led government has also proposed an 11.9 per cent increase in the defence budget, negating the earlier claims that military spending would remain unchanged amid dire economic situation due to the coronavirus.
The defence budget for 2020-21 would be PKR 1,289 billion as compared to PKR 1,152 billion during the ongoing fiscal year.
The increased defence spending is being attributed to the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan as both sides continue to engage violently against each other along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary (WB).