Focus of budget

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Almost stagnant GDP growth, rising inflation and absence of required relief for different segments of the society are priority concerns of each and every citizen and with this in view, it is satisfying that top leadership of the government seems to be alive to situation and aspirations of the people.

The directions given by Prime Minister Imran Khan at a high level meeting on Sunday for focus on development projects and curbing inflation in forthcoming budget could help alleviate sufferings of the masses if budgetary proposals genuinely reflected these concerns.

It is customary for budget makers to hold a series of meetings with representatives from different walks of life to get input for the annual exercise and Sunday’s meeting also sought suggestions from senior PTI leaders.

Being elected representatives, it is hoped that party leaders would speak for the masses and instead of giving their opinion after announcement of the budget from floor of Parliament, they would make positive contributions to make the budgetary plan a worthwhile document.

The declaration that budget for the next financial year will be development-oriented in which focus will be on increasing the growth rate is understandable as the country witnessed mute spending on development during the last three years.

The determination of participants of the meeting that development projects will be further accelerated and new projects will be launched with a view to increasing economic activities, creating numerous employment opportunities, increasing the volume of GDP and revenue.

The government intention to complete all ongoing projects irrespective of who initiated them is also laudable as the country has already spent a considerable amount on them and cannot afford to discard them midway.

Already, a number of projects including those that were aimed at resolving fundamental problems of the people of different regions suffered due to a halt or cut in annual allocations and as a result their cost has also escalated.

As for inflation, government leadership has all along been acknowledging the need for addressing this crucial issue but its efforts so far have not borne fruit.

Concrete measures are needed to tackle the problem as latest official data also indicates inflation hovering around 12%.

This, in turn, calls for provision of relief to people especially to salaried class and pensioners who have been forced to compromise on the quality of their life because of non-provision of required relief by incumbent government.