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Concerns Grow About Pakistan's Economy



From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

Many Pakistanis are increasingly concerned about their economy. Zafar Saeed directs an occupational training center in Islamabad, the capital. For the past 10 years, the center has trained thousands of people for work in an increasingly difficult economy. Now, the business is struggling with issues ranging from loss of electricity to inflation.

Zafar Saeed blames the government for the situation. He says his organization has suffered big financial losses in the last five years. One of the reasons is long power outages. Another reason is that inflation makes it hard for people to pay his fees so they can learn skills that lead to income.

Other people share his opinion. Street protests against power outages are common in Pakistan. Some outages can now last an entire day. Ashfaque Hassan Khan is a professor at the NUST Business School in Islamabad. He says there has been too little political will to fix the national tax system. Less than one percent of Pakistan's 180 million people pay income taxes.

About 70 percent of federal lawmakers did not complete any income tax documents last year. As Professor Khan notes, that makes it more difficult to ask major donors to the country for help. He says other nations question why they should provide Pakistan with aid when Pakistan does not tax its own wealthy citizens.

Sixty percent of the Pakistani population is under the age of 25. Opinion surveys show that young people are most concerned about economic problems and corruption.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Laurel Bowman.) You can watch more captioned videos at the VOA Learning English website and the VOA Learning English channel on YouTube. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 01May2013)