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June 12, 2019

Salaried class, common man brace for budget impact


June 12, 2019

Islamabad : The PTI government in its first full-fledged budget announced for the fiscal year 2019-20 has enhanced tax to almost a blanket 17 per cent on all edible items, which is going to make life of common even more miserable, a factor which is bound to create chaos in society.

Although the government has openly saying all along that it is going to be a difficult budget because some tough measures have to be imposed, but the impact would be so difficult to embrace was not expected.

The unprecedented increase in edible items and basic amenities will be too difficult for almost 80 per cent of country’s population to swallow.

A grade-14 federal government employee with a 7-member family unit, including aging parents, said that the life is bound to become difficult as each and every single edible item is becoming dearer.

“I have been working as a vendor after office hours and on the weekends I work full day to earn extra money to make the ends meet and yet I have to borrow money from friends or family on some occasions.

“How I am going to meet this extra burden that has been off loaded on my shoulders, I am at total loss to understand right now. Well, Allah Almighty will help me find some way I believe,” the poor fellow signed.

The government has increased the minimum wages from Rs15,000 to Rs17,500 in this budget. But the overall impact on simple grocery for a month is likely to go much beyond with increase of tax on almost all basic edible items.

The worst hit would be the daily wage earners, which make a vast majority of population. At present a daily wage laborer earns Rs700 per day, if he is lucky to get some work to do. Already living in subhuman conditions these daily wageworkers will be finding it even harder to survive in the days to come.

The government servants were also not pleased with the 10 per cent ad hoc increase in basic pay announced for employees in grade 1 to 16. They were brooding as to how they are going to cope with the things in the days to come with almost everything a common man needs bound to become dearer.

An economic expert, when contacted, said that amidst the prevailing economic conditions, the government was bound to take these drastic steps of withdrawing subsidies and imposing new taxes on almost every single item.

“The times ahead would be difficult for common man but if the government actually managed to accomplish the development targets it has announced, especially the infrastructure development, there are possibilities that enough income generation opportunities may be created, leading to poverty alleviation at grass roots level,” he said.

A member of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that presently people are focusing only on the impact of what the government has announced.

“The actual impact is bound to enhance considerably if not multiply when people will be forced to pay indirect taxes as well as the impact of withdrawn subsidies from various items,” he said.

He said that this budget announced by the PTI government is a bitter pill that the nation is left with no option but to swallow. However, it would provide a good opportunity for the opposition political parties to use it as a platform to launch a mass agitation against the incumbent government.

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