Opposition senators blast ‘WB-dictated’ budget

Say anti-people budget only served the nation’s elite


Zulfiqar Baig June 19, 2021
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The opposition in the Senate on Friday termed the federal budget “anti-people” and dictated by the terms of World Bank (WB).

Speaking about the budget, the opposition members, including Senator Mushtaq and Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, lambasted the budget and said that Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin only made a token appearance in the House to read out the dictated budget to the nation.

Pointing out the “glaring inconsistencies” in the finance minister’s statements before and after the budget, the opposition leaders said: “Just a day prior to the budget’s presentation, the finance minister had declared that the country had gone bankrupt, but ended up retracting the statement the very next day saying the country’s economy had been saved”.

“Which one of these statements shall we consider to be true?” they questioned.

The leaders said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government lacked any roadmap to offer relief to the nation as the economic crisis continues to balloon.

“We have been endlessly taking loans and the rulers are constantly lying about it,” they said. They alleged that the finance minister had tried to leverage the country’s cooperation with the US military to win concessions from the IMF.

Read Bilawal questions veracity of budget claims

“It is not the budget of the poor people but the budget of the elites,” the leaders said, adding the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had utterly failed to meet the tax collection target.

“A staggering amount of Rs628 billion which belonged to the common man has been heedlessly handed over to big businesses”.

Rebutting the opposition’s charges, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr. Sania Nishtar said that Prime Minister Imran Khan's economic roadmap deserved accolades for “pulling off a balanced budget despite all odds”.

“The wages have been increased to Rs20,000, besides a whopping amount of Rs260 billion which has been set aside for the Ehsaas program,” the special assistant to the premier said.

Senator Danesh Kumar said that the budget was in line with the aspirations of the Pakistanis. “The development expenditure has been increased in the budget and a sizeable chunk has been allocated for development in Balochistan,” the senator said.

Why was the opposition not able to see the positive aspects of the budget, Kumar questioned.
Members of the ruling PTI then moved four bills related to re-organization of medical teaching and national health institutes, and to amend the Mutual Legal Assistance ((Criminal Matters) Act, 2020 and the Enforcement of Women's Property Rights Act, 2020 in the Upper House.

Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani referred the bills to the standing committees concerned for further consideration after the House's approval.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan presented "The Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Bill-2021" to re-organise the federal medical teaching institutes and "The National Institute of Health (Re-organization) Bill, 2011, as passed by the National Assembly, on behalf of Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Zaheer-ud-Din Babar Awan.

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