Unemployment rate in the country is already a matter of concern for many, but people had hoped that the new budget would offer some relief to them. However, after the announcement of budget for fiscal year 2017-18, it has become obvious that the government has failed to introduce measures to curb the unemployment issue.
Representatives of the business community have said that the government did not take any concrete measures to reduce the unemployment rate in the country. Pakistan currently needs 2.5 million jobs per year in order to cut down on its unemployment rate.
According to the business community, the federal budget as well as Punjab’s provincial budget failed to accommodate the unemployed youth. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one source that can bring in new jobs and the government needs to take steps so that Pakistani youth can get a chance to work on CPEC related projects.
Early in 2017, it was claimed that CPEC will create around two million jobs in the next two years. Early harvest projects of the economic corridor have so far created jobs for 30,000 individuals including both engineers and workers. Moreover, 8,000 of the jobs from the current projects have gone to Chinese workers, i.e. over 25% of the total jobs created.
The government has been focusing more on collecting revenues than creating employment opportunities. Furthermore, the number of tax payers has also reduced in the active tax payers list of Federal Board of Revenue. This highlights the inability of the government to bring in more people in the tax net.
Tax measures of the budget have only strengthened its threshold on the existing tax payers while no measures have been taken to rope in new tax payers.
The business community has urged the government to broaden the tax net by documenting the economy as a whole and making the tax structure simpler so that people can understand it. They also advised the government to collect direct taxes rather than going for withholding taxes.