ISLAMABAD: The opposition on Monday dismissed the new federal budget as “mere fudging of figures and gross misrepresentation of facts prepared in complete disregard to public plight.”
“The pockets of the people are empty — so is the national kitty,” deplored Opposition Leader in Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem, initiating debate on the Finance Bill 2023, on the floor of the house.
“Pakistan’s economy is buried under these heavily loaded documents that have been placed here. This is mere fudging of figures and gross misrepresentation of facts prepared in complete disregard to public plight,” he added.
The opposition leader dubbed the Economic Survey of the outgoing fiscal year as a “report card” of the federal government’s performance, which, he said, failed in all the key indicators.
Citing the key findings of the economic survey, the senator shared, Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) went down from 6 percent to 0.29 percent; industry’s growth saw a downward spiral from 6.8 percent to 2.94 percent; agriculture’s growth was recorded at 4.3 percent that plunged to 1.5 percent and the services sector was performing at 6.6 percent that went down to 0.86 percent.
Presently, Waseem said, the country is facing unprecedented inflation of 38 percent whereas the inflation recorded on edible items crosses 48 percent. Income per capita has seen a decline of 11 percent and unemployment has increased by 10 percent, he said, adding that eight million people were rendered unemployed in the last one year.
Citing expert estimates, Waseem said, over 100 million people fell below poverty line in the last one year.
He said the tax collection target in the new federal budget is 9.2 trillion rupees, out of which Rs 5.2 trillion would go to provinces under National Finance Commission (NFC) award, leaving the tax collection target at Rs 4 trillion, and, including the non-tax revenue of Rs 2.5 trillion, the tax collection target becomes Rs 6.5 trillion — whereas payable interest on loans is Rs 7.3 trillion.
“The federal government of 13 political parties has failed in each and every sector,” he lamented.
Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar claimed the budget envisages relief measures for all the segments of the society. He claimed that “revolutionary measures” were proposed in the Finance Bill 2023.
Tarar said the federal government “inherited a difficult situation but we are committed to the welfare of the people. We will continue the journey towards bringing improvement in the economy.”
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023