Opp leaders unimpressed with 2015-16 budget, call it ‘anti-poor’

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  • Khursheed Shah says budget has nothing for the poor
  • Imran Khan says rich people again excluded from tax net
  • Shahbaz says budget ‘best, poor-friendly and balanced’

The opposition parties seemed unimpressed with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s announcement of the federal budget for the year 2015-16, terming it “anti people and anti-poor”.

Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah expressed his dismay over the federal budget 2015-16, terming it “pro-rich”. Reacting to the budget speech given by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Shah said that the budget proposals were made on IMF’s conditions. “The only thing we heard in the budget speech was increase in taxes,” he said, adding that prices of common edible items would soar after the budget. “This is a pro-rich budget. It has nothing for the poor,” he added.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan called the budget “anti-poor”.

Khan said that ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) after coming into power in 2013 presented its third budget but it has failed to fulfill the aspirations of masses. He said that affluent people were again excluded from tax imposition circles, adding that this budget did not possess any relief for the poor segments of the society.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq said that the federal budget for the next financial year did not provide any relief to the masses and the targets fixed by the government were unrealistic and unachievable. He said the budget had disappointed the salaried people as also the general public which had high hopes from the rulers. He said there won’t be any increase in production as the government policies were not expected to improve the conditions of the industry and agriculture. Commenting on the federal budget, he said that the government had indicated a 10 per cent increase in salaries and pensions of employees but that had been cut down to seven and a half per cent which had disappointed the salaried people. Secondly, he said, the government claimed credit for raising foreign exchange reserves to 16 billion dollars. However, he said, according to official figures, the exports had decreased by three per cent while the actual fall in exports was five per cent. He said the raise in foreign exchange was because of different factors including increase in remittance, the special Saudi grant of 1.5 billion dollars, the sale of Euro bonds of two billion dollars, and also of the Sakuk bonds.

MNA Dr Arif Alvi of PTI also termed the budget “irrational and imbalanced”.

Alvi said that instead of slashing already high sales tax and bringing it down, the government has increased it again which would badly impact the inflation-stricken people.

MNA Rashid Godial of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said that the focus of the budget was on indirect taxes which were evident with the increase in sales tax.

“This is a businessman’s budget and will increase burden on the ordinary man.”

‘POOR FRIENDLY AND BALANCED”:

Commenting on the federal budget 2015-16, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that the federal government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has presented best, people-friendly and balanced budget and no burden has been placed on common man.

In a statement, Shahbaz said that projects of provision of relief to the common man are priorities of the budget. He said that billions of rupees have been allocated for the welfare programmes of poor people in federal budget and the biggest development package of the history of the country has been given in the next financial year’s budget. The Punjab CM, who is also the younger brother of Prime Minister Sharif, said that solid steps have been proposed in the budget for the promotion of textile industry whereas announcement of provision of interest free loans to small farmers for installing tube-wells running through solar energy is a welcome step. He said that allocation of huge amount of billions of rupees for energy projects in federal budget reflects seriousness of the government for ridding the people of energy crisis.