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Pitfalls of budget

AFTER presentation of a budget that is going to badly
affect every segment of the society, Prime Minister Imran
Khan announced formation of a high-powered Commission to probe into the loans obtained in the past. While making the announcement, he also described the new budget as reflection of new Pakistan and claimed that Pakistan was now stable.
Formation of such a Commission can, at best, be considered as an attempt to divert attention of the people from a multitude of measures that the new budget contains, which would put unbearable burden on every citizen. This is because the present Government has acted no differently from the past ones as it too is relying heavily on foreign loans and its record in this regard is no better. In the past, hundreds of thousands of projects were undertaken to improve the lot of the common man but at the moment developmental activities are almost at the standstill but still we are getting more loans than in the past. As for the new budget, analysts believe the Government has made the job of the opposition, which is preparing to launch a protest movement, much easier by presenting proposals that would take the inflation to new heights and disturb family budgets. No doubt, the Government has announced a 10% increase in salaries of employees from grade one to sixteen and five percent from seventeen to twenty but their carry home salaries would see a significant cut with the increase in income tax slabs and rates. The Government is going to receive record foreign remittances this year but the trend might reverse in the new year – thanks to a clause in the new budget that would discourage Overseas Pakistanis to send money and invest it too in Pakistan as they will be asked for a money trail if the investment is more than five million. The Government has also been claiming to focus on curing the ills of the system but in the new budget too current expenditure would increase and developmental expenditure would go down. It is apprehended that this would run contrary to the avowed commitment of the Government to create more employment opportunities. However, its decision to provide tax rebate to companies hiring fresh graduates might produce positive results.