70 pc of Pakistan’s economy is informal, which is of high concern: PBIF

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said that as per International Labour Organization, the informal economy is accounted for more than 70 percent of the employment in main jobs outside agriculture sector.

The informal economy has observed speedy growth in the last three decades as compared to the formal economy and the informal economy has 35 percent share in the Country’s GDP which is highest in the developing countries.

The Veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that according to a survey, 62 percent of trade is associated with the informal sector in which trade, manufacturing, service industry, transport and construction are included.

The several reasons behind increasing informal economy include lack of employment opportunities in formal sector, increased cash transactions, widening tax gap and poor performance of the public sector institution. Afghan trade transit has also a major portion in informal economy. 

According to reports, 83 percent containers of ATT do not reach its destination, which is indeed a major loss to the national exchequer. Corruption, smuggling and complex tax system is also appreciating the informal economy.

The Former Minister said that according to WB, Pakistan ranked 136 out of 190 countries in the EoDB index while it ranked 173 regarding ease of taxpaying. In 2006 Pakistan ranked 60 in the global index of ease of doing business, however, doing business became more difficult in the last decade. Prime Minister Imran Khan while taking the notice of difficulties in business instructed the relevant departments to bring Pakistan on 100th rank in global index of doing business.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that there is mistrust between public and government in Pakistan, the transparency international says. Pakistan spends 2.5 percent of its GDP in charity as compared to US 2.2 percent, UK 1.3 percent and India 0.2 percent.

But due to complex tax system taxpayers are less than 1.5 million in the country of 210 million people. The Benami act is expected to improve the formal economy. Business community appreciates Govt. measures to improve formal economy however; it must ensure that the implementation of this act does not harm the investment climate and business community in the Country.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that government should also take measures to eliminate child labour in the Country in accordance to the conventions of the UNO, which is a major portion of informal economy.

According to ILO 5 million child labour is part of informal economy in Pakistan who can be part of formal economy if Government make proper mechanism for their education and training. Public sector organization associated with traders, industrialists, investors and public should be make more transparent in order to curb corruption and people may conveniently get their rights. 

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