Budget criticised for 'discriminating against provinces'

'There are reports that some provinces are being ignored in the development budget'


Haseeb Hanif June 15, 2021
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Opposition Leader in the Senate Yousaf Raza Gillani slammed on Monday the incumbent government for proposing a budget that “discriminated against some provinces”.

During a senate session, presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, the former prime minister lashed out at the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government for damaging the country’s economy and proposing a budget that is based on the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“There are reports that some provinces are being ignored in the development budget. There should be no discrimination in the development budget”.

The PPP leader said that his government had empowered Gilgit Baltistan by establishing a government of elected representatives.

Recalling that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had passed a resolution seeking the establishment of South Punjab as a separate province, Gillani highlighted that, “We were blamed for being insincere when we first pitched the idea of South Punjab”.

He urged the PTI-led government to fulfil its promises of creating a South Punjab province.

Referring to the government’s recent crackdown on the protest held by the government employees, Gillani said the government was “testing” tear gas on its own employees.

“Salaries should be increased in proportion to the inflation,” he demanded.Accusing the government of lying about economic growth, Gillani said that a sudden increase in the GDP just a few days before the budget was beyond comprehension.

“The circular debt has reached Rs2400 billion, which is why the IMF demanded to increase the price of electricity”.

He said that there has been a sharp decline in cotton production which has led to reduced exports.

“This put a burden of Rs2 billion on foreign exchange reserves and increased unemployment in the country, the PPP leader said, adding Rs900 billion PSDP was not enough for growth.

Countering the allegations made by Yousaf Raza Gillani, Senate’s House Leader Dr. Shahzad Waseem said that the budget allocated maximum funds for all the provinces, including Sindh and Balochistan.

Terming the budget a fulfilment of promise made by PTI in its elections manifesto, Waseem said that despite several challenges owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Imran Khan pulled off a pro-people budget “which would bring progress and prosperity in the country”.

Dr. Shahzad Waseem emphasised that the budget was designed with a special focus on the growth of marginalised segment of the society.“Before 2008, the country’s economic situation was far better.

Pakistan Still Mills and the Pakistan International Airline were doing better in terms of profit,” Shahzad said, adding that many institutions went drastically bankrupt after PPP came to power.

Blaming the previous governments for leaving the country with serious economic woes, Shahzad said that the PTI-led government had been left with only two choices at its disposal: either to go bankrupt or seek IMF’s help.

While admitting that the decision to go to IMF was a difficult one, he said that the Covid-19 pandemic had increased the challenges for the economy manifold.“However, Imran Khan took the right decision in view of the ground realities”.

“Imran Khan had categorically told the IMF that prices of electricity would not be raised at any cost”.

Slamming the PML-N for opposing the government’s electoral reforms and ordinance that allows overseas Pakistanis to vote in general elections, Shahzad said that record remittances were sent by overseas Pakistanis. “But PML-N is still adamant on claiming that overseas Pakistanis know nothing about the politics”.

He said Information Technology (IT) sector had made record 40 per cent growth in last 10 months.

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