First of all we all of have to agree on the fact that a Dam is a damn necessity. Without it, our future will be bleak. We knew that since 1994. It is not news to us. Leaving aside why we did not build the dam earlier, let’s look forward. Let’s find ways to fund it. Anyone who is doing business in Pakistan, living in Pakistan, benefitting from Pakistan, should contribute to it. But “Should” contribute and “Would” contribute are two poles apart.
It’s a good idea to ask for help from everyone. But that is no guarantee that the funds will be raised. Not even a remote guarantee. We will jump with joy on IK’s appeal, PTI lovers more than others, talk about it for the next few weeks, if that, and then life would become normal as before and the idea of a Dam is sure to be Damned.
So let’s decide that it’s a necessity. And once we know that it’s a necessity, we also know that necessity is the mother of all inventions. Financial as well. Let’s innovate new ways to fund it. Let’s burden the rich more than the poor. Yes, I said the word, burden, because if they don’t find it to be their duty to fund this, let’s make it our duty to get it funded by them. Why ? Because everything they have, they have it because of Pakistan.
It’s like the mother needing an expensive Operation to save her life and the richest child refuses to pay. What do you do ? You make him. And we are all children of this land. Pakistan is our mother.
Luxury Cars. $400 million a year alone.
We can add an additional tax on luxury items. Luxury items are used only by the rich. If you want to import a 1 Crore Rupees car, you lay an additional 20 lakh Rupees towards a dam tax.
65,376 cars were imported alone last year. Conservative estimates say that 20,000 of them were luxury cars. So a 20 lakh rupee tax on these cars worth 1 Crore and above, that’s almost $400 million a year.
It will do 2 things. First it will lower our Current Account Deficit by discouraging imports. And even if it lowers the luxury imports to 10,000 cars from 20,000, we collect $200 million and save billions in imports that costs our foreign reserves to deplete.
An average 1000 square yard home is a luxury home. In DHA Karachi it costs an upward of 14 Crore Rupees as of today. Across Pakistan the average price for these houses of 2 Kanals or 1000 square yard may differ, lowest of 7 Crore. So let’s take the lowest side. 15,000 new homes of this size are built according to the surveys, on the minimum.
A minimum of 10% additional tax on a 7 Crore rupee house will generate $975 million a year.
Just these two avenues alone will raise $1.4 billion a year, almost.
Dam costs about $10 billion to build and will take approximately 8 years to build. Why do we have to have the entire amount of $10 Billion up front ? We can finance it every year for the next 8 years.
These ideas may sound very stringent and strict to many but they put no pressure on the poor of the country and we get a Dam built as well. These are just 2 ideas. We can come up so many other ideas.
And whatever we get additionally from the overseas Pakistanis or the local ones will be an added bonus and could be used for other purposes.
No popular measures are going to fix our economy and our woes.
If IK wants to please everyone, he should start selling Ice Cream at a discount. If he wants to build Pakistan, he needs to take tough decisions. Simple as that.
By Mir Mohammad Ali khan