Sunday September 19, 2021

Little to no relief for common man in budget

Islamabad : A meagre 10 per cent hike in salaries and pensions as well as fixation of Rs20,000 minimum wages for labour class did not auger well for the common man particularly the government employees who were staging a sit-in outside the Parliament House on Friday outrightly rejected the budget proposals for the fiscal year 2021-2022 by the federal government and vowed to launch a countrywide protest movement against the government for failing to give them any kind of relief.

All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA) President Haji Muhammad Irshad rejected the budget speech of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and said that government employees have staged a ‘sit-in’ in front of Parliament House and they will not leave it till acceptance of their demands. “We reject only 10 per cent ad-hoc relief in salaries at a time when prices of all kitchen items have jumped exorbitantly,” he claimed. He said that that they don’t trust PTI government and have gathered in the federal capital, to listen to the budget speech, if the government will not accept our demands, we will not call off our protest,” he warned.

All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA), Railway Prem Union, Teachers Union, Civil Secretariat Employees Association and Wapda Hydro Electric Labour Union also rejected budget speech saying that ‘killing the poor’ is an ‘agenda’ of the incumbent government. They said that the public was listening to the speeches of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet for over two and half years and now they have thought that they will no other option left but to come on roads.

On the other hand, people belonging to different walks of life while talking to ‘The News’ said that it was the worst budget ever presented in the country's history. The government has already imposed heavy taxes in line with its agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has ruined the living standard of a common man in the past two and half years. The government has not given any relief to poor segment of society in budget 2021-22, they added.

“We were expecting a cut down in taxes on electricity and gas bills, as well as a reduction in prices of all eatable items like ‘atta’, ‘ghee’, pulses, vegetables, fruits, mutton, beef, chicken etc. but there is nothing for the common man in the budget speech,” a senior lawyer, Hina Noman told ‘The News’. “Government has cut down taxes on cars which was a dream for poor people. In prevailing circumstances how can a poor man imagine buying a car,” she added.

They said as per new hidden taxes people would buy all items particularly cement, ghee/cooking oil, cold drinks, mineral water, sugar, coffee, tea, marble, cigarettes, pulses, dry milk, drinks, butter, steel, shoes, clothes and several other items at skyrocketing prices in the coming days.

As per prevalent market conditions, 1-kilogram ghee is being sold at Rs280 to Rs300,1-kilogram mutton at Rs1300, beef at Rs700, chicken at Rs300, red chili at Rs400, 1-litre milk at Rs120, yogurt at Rs130, a 20-kilogram ‘atta’ bag at Rs1200 and 1-kilogram sugar at Rs110.