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Thursday May 30, 2024

All budgetary targets artificial, not realistic: PTI

PTI leader Hammad Azhar said that all the targets in the new budget were artificial and not realistic like last year

By Mumtaz Alvi
June 10, 2023
PTI leader Hammad Azhar addressing a press conference in still taken from a video. — YouTube/PTI
PTI leader Hammad Azhar addressing a press conference in still taken from a video. — YouTube/PTI

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader and ex-finance minister Hammad Azhar Friday said that all the targets in the new budget were artificial and not realistic like last year. Also, the finance minister did not outline any plan to reduce inflation or to save the sinking economy.  

In his reaction to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s budget speech, Hammad said, “All targets in this budget are artificial and not realistic like last year. The targets regarding economic growth, tax collection, inflation rate, imports and remittances are written only to balance the budget, as they had nothing to do with reality.” Similarly, he pointed out that there was a figure fudging of Rs1,000 billion in the amount of interest payments and non-tax revenue and the finance minister did not outline any plan to reduce inflation or save the sinking economy. The industrial production fell by 25% in the last two months due to the ban on the import of raw materials and shrinking economy.

The government, he claimed, was totally clueless and had no plan as how to get the country out of the current quagmire. “The budget has a new external debt target of $8.5 billion but this would not be possible without IMF while PDM government seems in no mood to take effective decisions because they do not care about the economy, they are only concerned about PTI Chairman Imran Khan,” he added.

Meanwhile, a PTI spokesperson said that they expected Ishaq Dar to hand over his resignation and apologise to the nation for unleashing a record-high 38% inflation on the people, crippling the economy with 0% growth and taking the economy on the brink of default with SBP reserves falling below $4 billion.

In response to the budget speech, the PTI spokesperson said the Economic Survey FY2023 paints a truly dismal picture of the economy. Under the PDM government, economic activity has collapsed to a standstill with 0% growth in the current year (0.3% to be exact), compared to two years of nearly 6% growth under the PTI government.“The epic failure of the PDM government has led to a ‘never seen before’ crisis with 8 million workers becoming unemployed in FY2023, the unemployment rate rising to 10%, and causing nearly 18 million households to fall below the poverty line,” the spokesperson said.

“To hide his colossal failures Ishaq Dar likes to throw around random numbers and desperately spin fairy tales, as the finance minister cannot even differentiate between nominal GDP and GDP calculated on a purchasing power parity basis. The IMF has refused to do business with the PDM government, the global markets have shut their doors to Pakistan and even his own party men are openly questioning the stories being spun by Dar.“The epic failure of his ‘Dar peg’ policy has showcased again why we believe he is unfit for this job, with a complete lack of basic understanding of markets and economic policy. This policy has brought the economy to the brink of a default, with SBP reserves now standing at only $3.9bn, not even enough to finance one month of imports. They were $10.5 billion at the time of the VONC,” the spokesperson said.