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April 20, 2021

Rabbani critical of govt approach to economy

April 20, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Senate’s former chairman Raza Rabbani said the upper house in protest, should refuse to make recommendations to the budget when it is presented because this is not a Pakistani budget but a budget prepared by Pakistan’s new imperial master.

“Pakistan’s economic sovereignty has been bartered to the IMF while National Assembly has been reduced to a rubberstamp which will give approval to a budget prepared by IMF,” he said while urging the Senate not to make recommendations for the budget.

Rabbani said the government is changing finance minister, as if it is going round the mulberry bush. “This shows the childish approach to such a complex issue,” he added. He said the government has still not discussed the details of the IMF-PTI agreement, will the next finance minister do it. He said the fourth, in succession, finance minister, before being appointed, was very critical of the IMF-PTI agreement. “The test of his conviction and independence will be, when he pulls Pakistan out of this anti-state and people IMF-PTI agreement,” he added. He asked will the finance minister read out the targets, already fixed by the IMF in the anti-people agreement, if so, there is no need of presenting the budget in Parliament. He said the document released by the IMF also suggests that the defence expenditure has also been shared by PTI government. He said the federal government has agreed with the IMF to increase FBR taxes by a massive Rs1.272 trillion, 2.8% of GDP in the coming budget.

Criticising the government for raise in power tariff, he said the government has agreed to increase electricity rates by Rs4.97 per unit in the remaining three months of the current fiscal year. “According to the IMF, the government has also undertaken to keep making electricity tariff adjustment next year on month, quarterly and annual basis through the regular Nepra’s amended law,” he further added.

Rabbani said the IMF document also suggested that the government would continue increasing petroleum levy on all products to the maximum level Rs30 per litre this year and next year to collect about Rs510 billion this year instead of the budget target of Rs450 billion. He said the petroleum levy target for the next year has been set at target Rs670 billion. He said the provinces have given an undertaking to provide Rs570 billion cash surplus next year. “The various tax collection targets of the Federal Board of Revenue, General Sales Tax and Personal Income Tax etc have already agreed to in the agreement,” he said. He said it is further been agreed with the IMF that the government would also bring down the current year’s development programme. “After this agreement, there is no need for the government to have a budget session as budget targets have already been set on the dictation of the IMF,” he added.