ISLAMABAD: Senior leaders from the opposition benches criticised the federal government’s touted 2020-21 “relief budget”, saying that it would lead to an increase in unemployment and inflation.
Reacting to the budget, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif predicted that inflation and unemployment would surge as a result of it.
“The government first tried to hide behind the PML-N for its failures and now it is doing the same with the coronavirus,” he said, adding that the country had witnessed historical setbacks in terms of inflation, unemployment, and business during the incumbent government’s tenure.
“This isn’t a budget, but a path to destruction,” said Shehbaz, adding: “Unfortunately, the nation is paying for this government’s incompetence.”
The PML-N president said that his party had taken up the policy of “less inflation and more development”. The budget announcements proved that the government is not ready to take the “path of reform and wisdom”, he noted.
“The current deficit of Rs1.7 billion in tax revenue is the performance of the present government,” he said.”For the first time in 68 years, the country’s GDP has plunged to negative. Is this the incumbent government’s performance?” he asked.
Shehbaz lamented that fiscal deficit had never climbed to double digit yet this government had managed to do this as well.
“The budget and its goals are unrealistic, and problems and public difficulties are likely to increase,” Shehbaz said, adding: “This is the first government that has failed to achieve its set targets of tax revenue, government expenditure, fiscal deficit, and GDP.”
He said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor had been halted by the present government and reduction in development expenditures was not a good omen.
“Where is their creative thinking, increasing exports, developing agriculture and industry, and people-friendly budget measures?” he wondered.
Sherry Rehman slams ‘non-transparent’ budget
Speaking to Geo News, PPP leader Sherry Rehman said that her party’s recommendation would be to provide employment opportunities and social protection for the people.
Rehman blamed the government for issuing the budget without any input from the opposition. “For the first time in history, the demand for a grant was not provided to the lawmakers — meaning the actual budget was not shared [with the opposition],” she said.
The PPP leader said she was informed that lawmakers would be provided a copy of the budget in a floppy disk. She said that this was a good initiative but the files were provided to the MNAs during the session, which prompted them to hoot and protest.
Terming budget 2020-21 “non-transparent”, she said that the opposition’s input should have been sought on the document. “I am sure they will take out a rolling budget in the next three months.”
She slammed the government for taking loans much more than what the previous two predecessor governments had, and that too before the coronavirus provided a setback to the country’s economy.
“We thought that they [government] would allocate substantial facilities for the health sector, which they did not,” she said, adding: “This is not a budget, but an accounting exercise — as they had taken recommendations from the International Monetary Fund.”
“This budget is an enemy of Pakistan,” she went on to add.
JUI-F says government failed to achieve targets
Jamiat Ulema-E-Islam’s (Fazl) Maulana Asad Mehmood, reacting to the budget speech by federal minister Hammad Azhar, said the government had failed to achieve its targets.
“This government has plunged the GDP to 0.4%,” he said, adding: “There is a deficit of about Rs900 billion in taxes that were to be collected.”
The JUI-F leader claimed that opposition lawmakers were not provided with copies of the budget.
“The government presented three budgets in a year and imposed new taxes on the masses,” he added.