NA begins discussion on budget

Islamabad: National Assembly NA has begun discussion on next financial year budget on Saturday. Initiating debate leader of the opposition in the House‚ Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah said that new budget envisages no relief measures for the poor‚ farmers and labourers.

He said that it was the first budget of the PMLN government and it would have been pro-poor and people friendly. He said that some of the government measures have triggered wave of inflation‚ curtailed by the previous government of PPP to single digit. He said proposed increase of six rupees in electricity bills will also add to the woes of poor people.

Shah said that PMLN had announced in its manifesto to raise the minimum salary to 15000 rupees but nothing has been announced in this regard in the budget. He said that government should have increased minimum wage to ten thousand rupees by giving raise of two thousand rupees.

Dr. Shireen Mazari of PTI said the budget focuses on indirect taxes rather than widening the net of the direct taxes which is in contravention of the constitution that envisages equality of status and opportunities for all citizens.

She was of the view that salaried class‚ labourers and small traders have been ignored in the budget and the government failed to announce any increase in minimum wages. She said the expected increase in electricity tariff would also put more burden on honest consumers who are already paying for corruption and theft.

Opening the debate on behalf of the treasury benches‚ Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said this is not an ordinary budget as the government got only five days after assumption of powers he firm up budgetary proposals.

He said after electoral victory of PMLN market capitalization of Karachi Stock Exchange increased by five billion dollars and there was an increase of seven hundred points after the budget which is indicative of the confidence of the business community in the economic policies of the government.

He said the government is pursuing a policy that would help the country get rid of foreign assistance. He said the government is determined to introduce transparency and eliminate corruption.