Sunday September 24, 2023

PTI decries ‘unrealistic’ PDM govt’s federal budget

Hammad Azhar says Ishaq Dar did not outline plan to revive ailing economy, control inflation

June 09, 2023
PTI leaders Asad Umar (Right) and Hammad Azhar (Left). — APP/AFP/File
PTI leaders Asad Umar (Right) and Hammad Azhar (Left). — APP/AFP/File

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the country’s main opposition party, has rejected the federal budget presented by the federal government for the fiscal year 2023-24, calling it “unrealistic”.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday unboxed a Rs14.46 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2023-24, introducing "no new taxes" and envisaging an economic growth of 3.5% as the crisis-riven country looks to persuade the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release more bailout money.

Reacting to the budget, PTI leader Hammad Azhar said targets set for economic growth, tax collection, inflation rate, imports and remittances were only mentioned in the finance bill to balance the budget but they had “nothing to do with reality”.

Similarly, the former industries minister said there “is a figure fudging of one thousand billion rupees in the amount of interest payments and non-tax revenue” in the budget.

He said the incumbent finance minister did not outline any plan to reduce inflation or save the “sinking economy”.

“Industrial production fell by 25% due to the ban on the import of raw materials and a shrinking economy. No comprehensive plan was made to restore the economy,” Azhar added.

He said budget document sought to pay off debts worth Rs8.5 billion which he said was not possible with securing International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package.

The PTI leader said the incumbent government did not seem interested in effective decision making and economy. “[..] they only care about Imran Khan.”

PTI leader Asad Umar said GDP growth declined from 6.1% last year to 0.3% this year as per government statistics. “This is the biggest growth decline since 1971 for Pak. Add the highest inflation in nations history. The economic collapse is catastrophic. This ain't working. Time to rethink, reset & revive,” he added.

Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finance minister and PTI leader Taimur Khan Jagra took to twitter to criticise the federal budget.

“Budget 2023-24 PTI dreamt of a health card for every Pakistani - should have been beyond party lines. PDM tried the entire year to destroy it; stopped it for FATA; stopped it multiple times in Punjab & KP. Now Dar introduces a health card for artists only. What a come down!.”

Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on social media that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government had failed to achieve all economic targets and criticised the rulers for runaway inflation despite fall in international commodity prices.