Islamabad : Housewives were among the group pf people least interested in the Federal Budget 2020-21 as they believed that it is not going to have any positive impact on their household budgets.
When contacted for their comments, majority of housewives said that they preferred not to watch the budget speech and termed it a mere jugglery of words. “We are only interested in knowing how it will benefit our household budgets but the budget speeches never focus on that,” said Yasmeen Tahir, a resident of Rawalpindi.
She said that no budget ever had any positive impact on household budget. “The prices keep increasing and a hike is observed after every budget. A time has come when it is almost out of our ability to run the household despite minimum level of expenditure,” she said.
Already finding it hard to make both ends meet, overall, housewives were found disappointed after the announcement of budget 2020-21. “For us, the budget will be good when there will be an announcement of decrease in taxes, utility bills and university and school fees,” said Asiya Saeed, another housewife from Islamabad.
Nafisa Saleem, a school teacher, challenged the government officials to make a house hold budget out of the income earned by her husband. “My husband earns Rs50,000. We live in a rented house with two school going children. Our combined pay hardly covers rent, school fee and utility bills, and usually nothing is left for the monthly expenditure such as groceries, transport, clothes,” she said adding that despite this situation, when they look at people losing jobs these days, they think that they are better than many.
On the other hand, the supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) had a slightly different opinion. They said that in ever continuing crisis especially COVID-19 and the economic situation inherited by PTI, there could not be a better budget. “The government doesn’t have any better option. Steps such as diverting major amount towards Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme and no increase in taxes and salaries of government employees shall be appreciated.
When contacted on the impact of federal budget on household budget, Chairperson International Relations and Political Science Department, International Islamic University and eminent political economist Dr. Noor Fatima said end user of any federal or provincial budget is the common person. She said that the household budget shall be the prime concern of the federal budget.
“Improvement in macro-economic indicators, increase in foreign reserves or reduction in fiscal deficit etc. are all very attractive economic terms but a common person is only interested in what is the ultimate impact of this budget on their lives,” she said adding that that the impact of development budget becomes evident after the project is complete and it provides no immediate relief to the general public.
Dr Noor Fatima said that in the developed world, per capita income is around $3500 that is unfortunately around only $450-500 in Pakistan. “From last year, the major inflation is coming from food inflation. Government claims that they have brought inflation to single digit from double digit, but again the maximum inflation which affects household comes from food inflation which was never dealt well in any budget.”
She said that there are two types of pressures the household budget faces. There is the pressure of compulsory expenditures which could not be avoided such as rent, utility bills, and fee, etc. and the other type is temporary expenditures that can be controlled. Unfortunately, after every budget, there is a hike observed in compulsory expenditures. About controlling temporary expenditures like food etc., she said that there is a minimum threshold for that and people cannot go lower that level.