Monday July 15, 2024

Fiery speeches in NA over budget

June 22, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Members of the opposition on Friday delivered fiery speeches about the federal budget and PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah reminded the PTI government its every single promise.

Khursheed Shah came down harshly on the PTI government for not fulfilling any promise with the people and its leadership for taking U-turns. “Imran Khan had stated that he will not take IMF loans, he will not construct metro bus project, he will not tell lies and many other claims which never came true,” he said. He also regretted use of the issue of dams’ constructions for political purposes, saying a former chief justice damaged the cause by adopting an unrealistic approach and failed to collect considerable funds from inside and outside the country. “I had also suggested in the past that water reservoirs can be raised if 15 percent of PSDP is reserved for these projects every year,” he said. Shah also observed that the government is reluctant to give any raise to the government employees even up to 10 percent, whereas the PPP government increased salaries of employees by 125 percent in its five-year tenure which improved the economic condition.

Baloch parliamentarian Aslam Bhootani regretted thereduction of Balochistan’s share in the NFC Award by 3 percent, saying the province got more share for the year 2010. He threatened the government of strong protest if any cut is imposed on Balochistan’s share in the NFC Award. Aslam Bhootani also called for giving sufficient electricity for Gwadar which is becoming hub of economic activity. He said China plans to establish 300 megawatts power plant in Gwadar and efforts must be expedited for early implementation of the project.

Veteran politician and former speaker of National Assembly, Fakhar Imam talked about giving incentives to the agriculture sector which indirectly has 38 percent share in the economic growth. He regretted that every country of the world including the neighbouring India and the United States give subsidies to the growers and farmers but in the present budget, the level of subsidies is very low. Khurram Dastgir from the PML-N said the government has obtained loans to tune of Rs5,216 billion as compared to Rs10,600 billion loans taken by the PML-N government in its five-year tenure. Khurram said the loans taken by the PML-N government were spent on construction of 8000-kilometer long highways and 1700-kilometer long motorways, generation of 11,000MW electricity, meeting needs of armed forces, operations Raddul Fasad and Zarb-e-Azb to achieve peace in the country.

Minister for State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said the government has shown commitment towards construction of dams. She said it is for the first time that a pro-poor budget has been presented in which Rs200 billion has been earmarked for disadvantaged segments of the society. She said Rs100 billion has also been allocated for the welfare of youth. Munir Khan Orakzai said tribal districts should be given their share in CPEC. Junaid Akbar said it is for the first time that focus is being given to documentation of economy and duties on raw material have been reduced to revive industries and enhance exports. Usama Qadri appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s firm stance against corruption, saying those who committed economic terrorism must be taken to task and held accountable. He called for establishment of a complete Islamic banking system in the country.

Barjees Tahir said this budget has not been prepared by the government but the IMF, adding the government has failed to achieve the revenue target for the current fiscal year. He said promise was also made by the PTI to construct five million houses but has imposed additional taxes on the construction material. He said subsidy should be provided to the farmers on fertilisers and pesticides. Yousuf Talpur while calling for justified distribution resources also demanded of the government to enhance subsidies for famers.

During proceedings, the Speaker Asad Qaisar also gave warning to the Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar against absence from the House. “I will not start proceeding till you or adviser on finance is not present in the House,” he said.