’50pc Pakistanis lack access to toilet, 11pc to safe drinking water’

* Seminar stresses need to build people-friendly economy

originally posted on January 31, 2017


LAHORE: Speakers at a seminar titled ‘Equality and human economy’ on Monday stressed the need to build people-friendly economy to benefit all and sundry.

The seminar was organised by the Indus Consortium and Rise for Equality at the Alhamra Cultural Complex.

Indus Consortium Programme Manager Fiza Qureshi gave a presentation on human economy while HELP Foundation Executive Director Jamshid Fareed highlighted efforts to end inequalities.

Present at the seminar, Singer Jawad Ahmed discussed poverty situation in Pakistan. He emphasised the need for making well-planned efforts to remove disparities causing inequality. He urged the youth to focus on research work in various areas. He said that more than 43 million were living under poverty line and another 45 million living at the threshold level.

Fiza Qureshi said that world’s biggest issue was economic inequality. Quoting reports of Oxfam, World Bank and World Economic Forum, she said, “One out of ten persons in the world still have to sleep hungry”.

She said that eight billionaires have had as much wealth as half the world. She said that the economic managers of various governments need to work for poor, ignored and marginalised segments of the society. The governments need to cooperate for economic growth. She suggested that technology should be used to increase employment opportunities and not for curtailing jobs.

“By any measures we are living in the age of super-rich, a second gilded age in which a glittering surface masks social problems and corruption. Oxfam’s analysis of the super rich includes all those individuals with a net worth of at least $1 billion.

HELP Foundation Executive Director Jamshid Fareed said that indirect taxes were unjust and unfair, as the poor who have no taxable income are taxed at the same rate as the rich. He said that the prevailing regressive taxation needs transformation into progressive tax system.

He said that according to the report titled ‘poor social indicators’, 25 million children are out of school; 45 million people are undernourished; more than half of Pakistani population don’t have access to toilets; about 11% don’t have access to improved drinking water sources.

The report recommends that the power to change is in people’s hand. It said that the people, who elected their government, should push it to be pushed into action to stop it from serving the rich elites and transform the prevailing regressive taxation into progressive tax system.

Small / women farmers from rural areas of Layyah, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh and Multan were also present during the event to share real life experiences of bearing the brunt of taxation on household items, agriculture inputs and other essentials of daily life.

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