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Government under fire in National Assembly for rising inflation

Opposition lawmakers on Monday termed that depreciation of rupee against dollar and imposition of indirect taxes as main reasons behind the inflation in the country, saying that the incumbent government has adopted flawed economic policies to control inflation.

Participating in a debate on a motion moved by Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid regarding increase in prices of various commodities, the parliamentarians sitting on opposition benches blamed the incumbent government for increasing inflation. They said that the inflation reached double digit in just six month tenure of the PML-N government. They alleged that the electricity tariff was jacked up on the dictation of International Monitory Fund (IMF).The government has paid circular debt of Rs 500 billion by printing new currency notes, which result in devaluation of rupee against dollar.

Asad Umar of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) taking part in the debate said that inflation increased from single digit ie 5 to 7 percent to double digit 10.9 percent in just six months of PML-N government, which speak volumes of its incompetence to resolve the economic problems of the country. One percent increase in General Sale Tax (GST) from 16 to 17 percent contributes negatively as price of each and every thing increased due to this hike.

The previous government of PPP had printed notes of Rs 525 billion during one year, but the incumbent government has crossed all limits as Rs 6.3 billion currency notes are being printed every single day during the last months of the present government rule, he claimed.

Shazia Marri of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) said that the government should take measures on emergency basis to control inflation in the country. Majority of the people are living below poverty line so further increase in the prices of daily use items would intensify their sufferings.

She said that during the PML-N six months tenure prices of essential commodities increased by 200 percent. She criticised the government's policies and particularly the recently announced Youth Loan scheme worth Rs 100 billion.

She said that the governments instead of giving loans should help the youth. The government should learn lesson from the PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto who has gifted houses to 2700 deserving families.

About the privatisation of State Own Entities (SOEs), she said that the government should protect the rights of labourers and poor employees before privatising them.

Sahibzada Muhammad Yaqoob of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) said that rising inflation was a matter of concern, adding that the government should adopt measures to control the prices. He said that depreciation of rupee was a major reason behind the growing inflation.

During the debate, parliamentarian sitting on treasury benches tried to divert the debate toward nationalisation of industries in 1970s, triggering a heated debate in the House.

Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh from the PML-N, while taking part in the discussion, defended his party economic policies, saying that law and order situation and budget deficit left by previous regime were responsible for hike in prices.

The PPP has left the economy in such a shape which has no parallel in country's history and we are trying to overcome it, but the job cannot be done overnight.

Mian Abdul Manan from the PML-N said that the previous government had destabilised the national institutions. "Things are going to get better from December 11 when European Union will give us Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) plus status. It will give a boost to textile industry and generate more jobs," he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013