ISLAMABAD: The treasury MPs on Tuesday cautioned against attempts being made to misled people on the federal budget, after the opposition kept attacking the government, saying it lacked "boldness and foresight".
Taking part in the debate on Budget 2020-2021, the lawmakers from the treasury benches were all praise for Budget 2020-2021, and said there could have been no better budget than this at a time when the country was worst-hit by novel coronavirus.
The opposition benches hit-hard at what they said unjustifiable cut in development spending with the government taking refuge behind Covid-19 despite the fact that it started some three months ago - much later than the budget was unveiled.
Wajiha Akram of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lauded the efforts by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and his team for presenting a "balanced" budget despite the deadly pandemic.
The MNA gave a big shout out to the doctors, and paramedical staff for risking their lives and giving best possible treatment to the Covid-19 patients within the meager resources available to the health sector.
Another PTI MNA Zahoor Hussain Qureshi said the economic indicators show that the economy of the country was progressing well before the spread of the coronavirus.
He said that the Covid-19 badly affected the economy, but despite these challenges the budget had a focus on relief of common and poor people. Qureshi said that it was a very good budget in the prevailing situation, adding that the Ehsaas programme was sufficient to prove it as a poor-friendly budget.
He said the government was working hard to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus and its negative impact on the economy. At present, he said the locust was causing damages to agriculture sector, which needed to be addressed to ensure food security.
He termed the locust as an equal threat as the coronavirus. Ali Gohar Khan of the PPP questioned the government projects including the Billion Tree Tsunami project, delay in Peshawar Metro and missing target for wheat procurement during the current fiscal year.
Chaudhry Hamid Hameed of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came down hard on the government for not fulfilling its promises made with the masses before coming into power.
Highlighting the issues faced by the Sargodha city including water issues, sewerage, education and other related problems, he said that no one in the government is ready to listen to him to resolve the issues.
Aftab Ahmed Siddiqui of the PTI lauded the prime minister and his financial team for presenting a tax-free budget despite worst pandemic, which has engulfed the whole country and inflicted loss to the economy.
He said the government inherited economy in a very bad situation, however with the prudent measures, the current account deficit was reduced, revenue increased by 17 percent, and same was the case with other macroeconomic indicators.
He said the government introduced Ehsaas and Kamyab Jawan programme, while the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) also announced package for business community to facilitate businesses, which was commendable.
He said the Covid-19 was well managed by the government as it took timely decisions to have "smart lockdown" for controlling the spread of the virus and at the same time let the economic activities continue.
Waheed Alam Khan demanded production orders of Khursheed Shah of the PPP, whose presence, he said, was important for the session.
Ramesh Lal of the PPP lauded the role of medics for rendering huge sacrifices in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, and urged the government to announce special package for them.
He also urged the government to increase salaries of government employees, keeping in view the increasing inflation, and also demanded raise in pensions.
Gul Zafar Khan raised various issues of erstwhile FATA, and demanded share of three percent in the National Finance Commission (NFC) award in accordance with the Constitution.
Kheal Das Kohistani, while participating in the debate highlighted the issues of Jamshoro, where many areas and villages were still deprived of gas and water facilities.
Usama Qadri said that minimum wage should be fixed at 25,000 rupees. He said Karachi greatly contributed to the country's economy but regretted that the city's development was being ignored.
Junaid Akbar said that it was unprecedented that the government gave a stimulus package of Rs1,200 billion to support different segments of the society during these difficult times.
He said cash assistance should also be given to the overseas Pakistanis rendered jobless by the coronavirus. Armaghan Subhani said interest-free loans should be given to the farmers to strengthen the agriculture sector.