As the budget debate formally opened in Parliament on Saturday, the opposition in both houses took the government to task by accusing it of proposing measures that serve the business community at the expense of the common man.
“There is not a single word for the welfare of the farmer, labourer or any other member of the working class in the budget,” said Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah. He said the day it announced the 6.3% budget deficit, the prices of essential commodities rose by 10-15%. He added that the proposed increase in general sales tax (GST) would push them up even further. The opposition leader also opposed the idea of privatising state-run corporations.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Farooq Sattar also accused PML-N of not fulfilling its promises. Terming it a budget for the ‘privileged class’, he suggested the government spend money on fixing the power crisis instead of building more roads.
Responding to criticism in the lower house, the Minister for Planning and Development said the government took over when all economic indicators had gone down and all economic targets were missed. He then pointed to the booming stock market as an indication that the government’s financial plan had been well received.
Meanwhile, the debate in the Senate was opened by Pakistan Peoples Party’s Raza Rabbani. He criticised the PML-N for the budget’s impact on the working, lower and middle classes and termed the imposition of an increase in GST a breach of Parliament’s privilege. Rabbani also expressed concern on the government’s decision to allow the FBR access to citizens’ bank accounts.
The opposition in the upper house also moved a privilege motion against the enforcement of the 17% GST and sought the decision’s immediate withdrawal.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2013.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ