We completely reject IMF dictated budget: Opposition Leader
ISLAMABAD: Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif finally got an opportunity of an uninterrupted speech after a week of continuous ruckus in the NA, as Shehbaz Sharif rejected federal budget for 2019-20 presented by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government.
Shahbaz Sharif said that Budget had only brought a message of disappointment for the people.
“We completely reject this budget. Budget is a sword of torture that is slitting the throat of the average man.
“If they were to make a people’s budget, there were five things that were important: employment opportunities, raising gross domestic product (GDP), increasing exports and trade, further reducing prices, and providing social and economic justice.
The opposition leader said that at the end of the financial year, the government had an Rs 500 billion hole in their revenue target.
He said that the budget was ” International Monetary Fund (IMF) led and IMF dictated”.
“Those who had come to create a naya Pakistan and to turn Pakistan into heaven have taken it towards economic hell through these bad steps.”
‘Pakistan falling behind’
Saying that the PML-N under Nawaz Sharif had improved the condition of the country, he lambasted the Imran Khan-led government for “burdening the people”.
“Afghanistan is our brother nation and we want a good relationship with them, but this is all about economic competition. Afghan currency is stronger than the Pakistani currency.
“Bangladesh’s per capita income is ahead of us. Fifteen to twenty years ago, we used to have a healthy competition with India. We were ahead of India in textile; in some sectors, we were ahead and in others, they were behind.”
‘Dollar is galloping’
“This is the situation in not a year, but in a mere ten months. Everything is sky-high; the dollar has reached the sky. On the last day of our tenure, the rupee was 115 against the US dollar.
“God forbid, when I finish my address, the dollar will be at 170. The dollar is galloping.
‘Look into Musharraf-era debt’
The opposition leader said that the commission would also have to look into the Musharraf-era debt and the ones “they [PTI] took in KP”.
He said that the menace of electricity load-shedding had been in place since [former president] Musharraf’s regime.
“Musharraf had claimed of laying a foundation stone of the Bhasha Dam by placing some machinery nearby the project site, but not even a dime was allocated for the project,” he said, adding that previously [prior to PML-N’s tenure], there had been a 20-hour load-shedding, and his remarks of eradicating the power outages within six months was quoted out of context.
‘Imran has no authority to give NRO’
Referring to the premier’s comments on NRO, Shahbaz said that Imran Khan did not have the authority to give an NRO, terming it “notorious relief order”.
“I want to ask, for the last time, because Imran Khan has repeatedly spoken about refusing ‘NRO’, who asked for it? Who was the witness?
“Tell the country, when and who asked him [PM Imran] for an NRO? Is there any witness? The country is very worried; Imran Khan says something but doesn’t give any evidence.
“I am saying this for the last time on the floor of the house: please tell this country who asked for an NRO, when did they ask and who is the witness.”
Demands for change in the budget
Shahbaz said that there were conditions for this, which he presented on behalf of the opposition:
- The “anti-people” budget should immediately be taken back and a budget taking into account people’s needs be presented.
- Minimum wage be raised to Rs 20,000 per month.
- A minimum 50 percent increase in the salaries of officers up to Grade-16.
- Reintroduce tax exemption for those who earn a salary Rs 100,000 per month, which had been introduced by PML-N.
- Electricity and gas prices should be brought back to the value they were on May 21, 2018.
- Tax on ghee be taken back.
- Health and education budget allocation be increased and free health care treatment provided during PML-N government be expanded to all of Pakistan.
- The government should immediately take notice of the concluding of zero-rated industries.