ISLAMABAD: Former Finance Minister and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Ishaq Dar on Saturday alleged that rulers seem non-serious in steering the country out of a looming energy crisis, as he rejected the budget.
Addressing a news conference here at Punjab House, he expressed disappointment over the new budget saying that no concrete steps were taken to resolve the loadshedding problem.
Senator Dar said the country is currently facing enormous problems with poverty and unemployment among the most serious. He said more than 49 per cent of Pakistanis are living below the poverty line.
Describing the federal budget 2012-13 as disappointing, he said it lacked remedial measures to cope with looming energy crisis. Commenting on the proposed allocation of Rs183 billion for power sector, he said that this would not be enough to overcome the power crisis. He said that there needs to be short-term and long-term strategies to cope with the challenge.
He suggested the government recover the written-off loans amounting to Rs300 billion, using it to pay off the circular debt, to overcome the power crisis in the short term. He added that existing power units could also be upgraded which can generate extra 1200 megawatts of electricity.
He grilled the government and its economic team for tall claims and unrealistic budgetary figures.
For long-term strategy, he said that his party’s Punjab government has given many fruitful suggestions in the Council of Common Interest (CCI), including adding 4908 MW electricity through the construction of Nandipur power plant, which has been stalled for the last two and a half years. He also lamented that the proposed programme of 2007-12 under which 11708MW electricity was supposed to be produced, was yet to get off the paper.
On poverty and unemployment, Dar said that the government does not seem to possess the capability to come up with a realistic solution. He also grilled the government over the creation of 100,000 more jobs, saying that the government should come up with sensible measures to overcome unemployment.
He said that the poor condition of national exchequer did not allow the government to create jobs in such large numbers. For this purpose, the government would only print more currency notes which will in effect trigger an inflationary-spiral.
The PML-N leader also opposed the proposed perks and privileges for former presidents and prime ministers and asked the government to withdraw the proposal.
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