The treasury benches in Senate have appreciated the financial teams of the government for giving balanced, business- friendly and tax free budget in wake of COVID-19 while the opposition termed it anti-people.
Resuming debate on the budget in the Senate on Friday, Mohsin Aziz of PTI appreciated the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh for giving business-friendly and pro-poor budget in wake of COVID-19 and at such critical time. He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that the world economy would shrink 3 per cent and the government gave a tax free budget without imposing any new tax.
He said steps were also proposed to control smuggling and a force was being erected in this regard. Many incentives were announced for industries in the budget, he said. Mohsin Aziz said customs duties on 20,000 items were reduced on basic raw materials which would help revive basic industry in the country. It would not only stimulate the country’s economy but to help in creating job opportunities.
The PTI Senator said the Prime Minister Imran Khan also wanted to increase salaries and pensions of employees but there was no fiscal space. Efforts were being made to reduce our expenditures and enhance revenue collection, he added. He said the current account deficit has been reduced to $ 3 billion from $ 20 billion and not a single penny loan was obtained from State Bank of Pakistan.
Similarly, he said the foreign direct investment witnessed 137 per cent growth. He said the total country debt was Rs 6000 billion till 2008 which stood at Rs 16,000 billion by 2013 and Rs 30,000 billion by 2018. The past PPP and PML-N governments secured excessive loans during their 10 years tenures, he added. He said structural changes had been made by the PTI led government to put the country on right track.
Senator Faisal Javed said that each step of the PM Imran Khan is for the welfare of people of Pakistan. He said that tax payer amount is being spent for poor and there is no camp office for the Prime Minister. Imran Khan, he said, is living at his own residence and the entire expense is being paid by him. The national exchequer would be spent only for the welfare of people by Imran Khan who saved Rs. 180 million in year through austerity campaign at Prime Minister’s Office.
PPPP Senator Keshoo Bai criticized the government for not giving any major relief to the masses in the budget. She said no raise was made in salaries and pensions of the employees for the first time. She also alleged that Sindh share has been slashed in NFC which would affect all development projects in the province.
Mushahid Hussain Syed said the country’s national security was strong and now there was dire need to strengthen human security. He also stressed the need to join hands to cope with regional challenges. He said no one could face Coronavirus individually and we had to counterit jointly. He said that opposition was always ready to help government in collective challenges being confronted by the country.
Senator Waleed Iqbal of PTI said overall Rs 64 billion was allocated for higher education in the budget and a sum of Rs 28 billion was specified for development projects of Higher Education Commission (HEC). However, he suggested that the HEC budget should be enhanced to Rs 70 billion. Regarding PSDP, he said 73 per cent was allocated for ongoing and 27 per cent for new projects.