Govt announces over Rs5 trillion budget today

Opposition in protest mood; PM assures Nawaz of tax-free budget

Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad

The PML (N) government is all set to present its last budget of current tenure today. It is the first time in the country’s history that an elected government is presenting sixth budget in its five year tenure. The outlay of the budget will be above five trillionrupees.
As the government’s term is expiring on 31 May the opposition is of the view that the PML (N) has no mandate to present budget for the whole year but just for three to four months. However, the government is sticking to its stance that it has the mandate to present the budget.
The opposition parties especially Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaaf (PTI) is considering to give a tough time to the government today in the National Assembly when the budgetary proposals will be unveiled before the house either by Adviser on Finance Miftah Ismail or Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan.
According to sources, the opposition members are likely to resort to sloganeering and may even choose to boycott the session. The opposition parties will meet before the budget session to work out their course of action.
Some of the opposition members were also of the view that the government can not get passed the budget without opposition’s support given recent defections in the ruling party. They said that more MNAs from the PML (N) are contemplating to leave the party and many will express their anger by not attending the budget session. So it will be difficult for the ruling party to get the budget passed without the opposition’s support.
Meanwhile according to PML (N) sources, the next budget will be relief loaded with focus on sustainable and inclusive growth. They said that budgetary proposals have been finalized after close consultations with different stakeholders including the business community. They said that the budget will reflect the continuity of policies. The party sources further said that the salaried class is expected to get a big relief pointing out that the government recently also announced a major tax relief package for them under which monthly income up to one hundred thousand rupees has been exempted from income tax. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi assured Nawaz Sharif that the federal government would be focusing on the development projects and be tax-free.
The PML-N Supreme leader also met with the Rawalpindi division party leaders and chaired a meeting which was attended by the prime minister, Maryam Nawaz, Pervez Rasheed and party lawmakers. The meeting was not attended by the estranged party leader and former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.Nawaz directed the party leaders to expedite the election campaigning in their constituencies.

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