Small traders are opposing the government on the new tax law, promoting PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz to tweet at Finance Minister Miftah Ismail to plead their case. He responded – but analysts are asking if Twitter is the place to debate taxation.
This was Maryam Nawaz’s tweet on July 31.
مفتاح بھائی @MiftahIsmail بجلی کے بِل پر ٹیکس واپس لیں، تاجر بھائی پریشان ہیں اور شکوہ کر رہے ہیں۔ امید ہے آپ کوئی حل نکالیں گے۔— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) July 31, 2022
Miftah Ismail wrote back on Twitter and said that the PM had instructed him to ensure that traders were “completely satisfied” with the new tax law.
1. The Prime Minister has also called me and instructed me to ensure that small traders are completely satisfied with the new tax law. This I shall do tomorrow. In order to satisfy the small traders we will: https://t.co/ItYMDCQNfz— Miftah Ismail (@MiftahIsmail) July 31, 2022
Aaj News analyst Anjum Ibrahim questioned this way of discussion national economic policies on a social media platform on Monday. I don’t understand this kind of blatant politicising of an issue that will affect all of us, she argued. Parallel decisions being taken on the economy, she said, while speaking to her guest economist Dr Hafiz Pasha.
Dr Hafiz Pasha, who has served as finance minister, said he was also perturbed by this way of handling such matters. Right now our relationship with the IMF is “worrisome” (pareshan qun) because their attitude has been extremely “tough” with Pakistan, he said. It is not willing to grant Pakistan any concessions.
“But if you pull these stunts,” he said, “then the danger is that … the IMF will not like this.”
Anjum Ibrahim argued that these kind of tweets send the wrong message to anyone who wants to invest in Pakistan. Dr Pasha agreed.
He argued that taking such decisions so informally is not right. Taxation is a serious matter that should be taken to parliament, which should debate the Finance Bill. And so until we get approval from the IMF executive board, this kind of discussion should be avoided.