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Pak can get only 25 per cent flood aid it needs from world, warns Holbrooke

By Abdul Nisar

Karachi, Sept 17 (ANI): US Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has warned Pakistan of a shortfall of funds required for rehabilitation and rebuilding work after the floods, saying that the international community would be able to contribute only around 25 per cent of aid needed and the rest would have to be raised by the government.

"You have to figure out a way to raise the money," he said, adding that the floods were "going to put your government to the test," the Daily Times quoted Holbrooke, as saying.

"The international community will never be able to put together that level of support because of all the other needs of the world in these areas, so your government is going to have to do something about revenue because there is a clear shortfall," he reiterated.

Holbrooke said America would not condition its assistance to the country, but warned that the US Congress might not be generous if it felt that Pakistan was not taxing its own citizens enough.

"I don't want to withhold money they need, but I think we have to be clear that the Congress is going to be reluctant to give money if the money is filling in a gap because (Pakistani) people are not paying taxes," he said.

Pakistan, with an already fragile economy, may miss its 2010-11 fiscal deficit targets of four per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), as the cost of rehabilitation will likely push the fiscal deficit to somewhere between six and seven percent of the GDP.

"Nobody has an accurate estimate of the reconstruction costs because we still don't know what the damage has been, but it's going to be in the tens of billions of dollars," Holbrooke told business leaders in Karachi. (ANI)

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