This is apropos a Business Recorder op-ed “Pakistani rich should give more” carried by the newspaper last month. The writer, Ali Khizar, has thrown ample light on the subject with a view to urging the rich to contribute more and more to help mitigate the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 on all spheres of human activity, particularly economy. According to the writer, for example, “it is their [rich people’s] moral and social responsibility to give back to the country from where they gained and grew. The argument becomes persuasive given that the proportion of indirect taxes in Pakistan is much higher than direct. The incidence of tax is higher on the lower income segments. The responsibility of state is to correct the taxation system by having higher taxes on rich. But it’s a different debate. Here under the current structure, especially in the days of Covid-19, the rich need to chip in more where the state is failing miserably and which are the greatest of needs for this country – in education and healthcare.” His argument, in my view, itself offers an answer to the question whether the Pakistani rich should be giving more. No, I don’t think so. I premise my answer on the amount of taxes collected by the government. The data or statistics are not encouraging at all mainly because of the fact that there exists a culture of tax evasion in the country and the Pakistani rich in particular evade taxes on a very large scale.
SANA RAHEEL (KARACHI)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021