Lahore: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said politicians are recklessly spending public funds, misusing powers and robbing massing to ensure victory in upcoming election despite their miserable performance over the years.
It is amazing that tax fraud is a punishable offence while wastage of public funds on controversial projects that benefit few isn’t, it said.Politicians simply don’t give much thought to long-term consequences of their decisions preferring short-term electoral successes, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.He said that many recent decisions were examples of abuse of position as these steps had nothing to do with welfare of masses but were aimed to support influential business lobbies in return of their support during the elections.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that Punjab government has been distributing laptops and yellow cabs while federal government has outshined it by wasting away billions.The coalition government is spending Rs 50 billion annually on the controversial Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), while the major chunk of money rose to support flood affected has been plundered, he said.
Similarly, recent 14.3 per cent hike in the wheat support price will not benefit farmers or commoners but the rural politicians; people will have to spend some Rs 360 billion on food alone, he said.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that Government which was already spending Rs 436 billion on purchase of food items will have to get more loans from banks to purchase wheat on the new price. He said that restriction on import of used cars was also a decision to benefit auto mafia which don’t want to competition to ensure windfall evident from their balance sheets. Profits of a major automaker increased by 25 pc, while another car assembler’s profit climbed almost fourfold.
He also criticised TCP for promoting interests of sugar barons by buying sugar at hefty rates. Provision of gas to textile industry on the cost of masses and economy is also a step to ensure election victory.
The wastage of funds and exploitation continues as government has been appointing scores of incompetent party workers in the bleeding public sector enterprises in backdates due to a ban on new appointments recently imposed by the Election Commission. In absence of an effective mechanism to check politically motivated spending the politicians will continue to deprive masses to meet their designs