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June 13, 2021

Common man apprehensive and confused with budget

Islamabad : The budget 2021-22 has left the common man apprehensive and confused as to what steps or initiatives have been taken by the government to provide relief to common man whose buying power is badly eroding with each passing day.

A gentleman busy doing grocery in a local supper store in Islamabad along with his family when approached for his comments on budget said that he was still confused and somewhat apprehensive despite the fact that the government has reduced some taxes, imposed no new taxes and has not increased the existing income tax rates, especially for the salaried class.

“The 10 per cent ‘adhoc’ increase in salaries for the government employees is absolutely not enough indeed, especially in wake of the ever increasing prices of essential goods, I mean the edibles and other daily use items,” he said.

“We still have to see in the days and months to come how this reduction of duties and taxes on food and other daily use items will reflect on the costs of these items. I am really not very optimistic that the traders and businessmen will even try to transfer this relief provided to them by the government to the common man,” he said.

A lady, also shopping in the same store was pretty sarcastic in her comments that if the government believes that common man has enough money to buy cars, then indeed these ‘poor people’ of Pakistan will be very happy with the government decision to reduce the prices of cars!

“How these steps announced by the government in the budget will help bring down, or even stabilize the prices of food items, flour, sugar, lentils and other daily use items? This will be what common man be looking forward and anticipating some relief,” she said.

One government official, while commenting on the measures taken by the government to provide relief to common man, said that he agrees that the federal government is not responsible for increase in prices of commodities. This is the duty of provincial governments through the Deputy Commissioners. But the institution of Deputy Commissioner is no longer active in this specific matter, he added.

“But if the government cannot control the prices then at least it could take steps to increase the buying power of common man, specially the salaried class. This 10 per cent ‘ad hoc’ increase in salaries is insufficient to bring any measure of relief to the salaried class. This will not be enough even to absorb the ever increasing prices of electricity, petrol and other utility bills,” he added.

The expectations of the common man were the measures to control the prices of daily use commodities and food items and increase their wages. Though the government has not imposed any new taxes, reduced certain taxes and duties and not revised the income tax upward, people are still confused and apprehensive as to what relief will come their way to make their lives easy in the days and months to come.