“Pak budget is for
IMF, not the
people”; PEW
echo PTI’s stand


ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said the budget is for the IMF, not for the people. The growth rate and revenue targets are based on aspirations rather than facts while giving tax relief to the agricultural sector is a good decision.

No effort has been made in the budget to address the economic problems or initiate the reforms but its entire focus is on appeasing the IMF, it said.

QUETTA: Activists of Balochistan Labour Federal and other organisations protesting against price hike and budget proposals.

Growth rate and tax collections are based on desires rather than facts, manipulation of facts and rhetoric has been given priority over facts in the budget, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of PEW.

The issue of petroleum levy, sales tax and Gas Infrastructure Development Cess which will be imposed on the behest of IMF have been downplayed in the budghet, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the budget estimates inflation at 11 percent, which contradicts the facts, while the prices of various commodities, including oil, gas and grain are rising in the global market.

No plans have been put forward to counter the increasing price of oil, gas, food and other commodities which is surprising.

QUETTA: Activists of Balochistan Labour Federal and other organisations protesting against price hike and budget proposals.

Dr. Mughal said that the budget claims to improve the tax system which is unlikely, while taxing the real estate market, tax relief for the solar sector and tax cuts for the agricultural sector are better measures.

The property market has become a mafia whose job is to rob the people and launder black money which has not been regulated for years.

The budget may help to improve the condition of the devastated agriculture and the government has planned to collect taxes from the affluent class which is unlikely to succeed.

Shaukat Tarin

Former finance minister Shaukat Tarin has asserted that the agreement with International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not in the public interest. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the former finance minister said that the PTI-led government had refused to accept IMF’s conditions of raising prices of electricity and petroleum products. “Instead, our plan was to cover the capital by increasing the tax base,” he added.

Shaukat Tarin pointed out that the agreements made by the incumbent government with the Fund were not in the public interest. “Instead of taking a stand against such IMF’s conditions, the government has laid down in front of the Fund,” he added.

He further said that former prime minister Imran khan went to Pakistan’s friends and the IMF to rescue the country from economic woes that began before the PTI came to power.

The former finance minister alleged that the economic team of the present regime has released the statistics of PTI government. “We were told that the economy was not strengthening, now they are acknowledging,” he added.

He noted that PTI’s policies in the past two years enabled higher growth for two consecutive years and in the current year, the country posted 4.4 percent growth in the agriculture sector and 7 percent in the industrial sector.

In response to a question regarding purchase of oil from Russia, Shaukat Tarin said that If India and China can procure oil from Russia then why not Pakistan? “The imported rulers are afraid of the US that’s why they are not making deals with Russia,” he added.

PML-N and PTI each other

PML-N, PTI continue to blame each other for sky-high external debt

Two days after the budget was formally presented in the National Assembly, the PML-N and the PTI continued to butt heads over each other’s economic performance and the state of Pakistan’s external debt on Sunday.

Earlier today, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb took to Twitter to share a video clip of a news package featuring former finance minister Shaukat Tarin.

The clip was of a press conference Tarin held yesterday, in which he had said: “They (government) say ever since Pakistan was formed they (PTI) have raised debt by 80 per cent. It did not increase by 80 per cent in the [four] years [of PTI rule]. It grew by 76 per cent.”

Referring to those remarks, Aurangzeb said: “At last, Shaukat Tarin has admitted that Imran Khan took out loans worth Rs20 thousand billion during his four-year tenure, which is 76 per cent of the loans taken out in Pakistan’s history.” She added that more such “admissions” would follow.

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail then said: “Total public debt under PTI went from Rs 24,953bn to Rs 44,366bn, an increase of 78pc. And total debt plus liabilities went from Rs29,879bn to Rs 53,544bn, an increase of 79pc. The PTI has added 79pc in 3.75 years of all debt + liabilities added in the previous 71 years.”

PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry, meanwhile, said their government took out loans of $52bn of which $38bn was to pay back the loans taken out by the previous governments. “If you do not like the agreements made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), then why does the poor government go to the board?” he asked.