Senators demand relief to masses; raise in salaries, pensions

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Lawmakers in the Senate on Wednesday called for giving more relief to masses especially by increase in salaries and pensions of the government employees in the budget. Taking part in debate on Federal Budget 2020-21 in the Upper House of the Parliament, Senator Aurangzeb Khan said the government had presented a balanced and better budget amid COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan would not take any decision against national and people’s interest. He lauded the government for presenting an economic stimulus package of worth billions of rupees to facilitate common people and the business community. He said new industrial units should be established in merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to bring erstwhile tribal areas at par with other parts of the country, adding the tribal districts should be exempted from taxes so that local people could stand on their own feet economically. He said more funds should be diverted to merged districts.
JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said ‘Charter of Democracy’ was the only solution for economic stability in the country. He said the continuity in economic policies should be ensured and all stakeholders should sit together for ‘Charter of Democracy’. He said less budget was allocated for health sector despite the ongoing phase of COVID-19 and demanded for more allocation for it. PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi criticized the budget and said no relief had been given to the masses in it.
He said it was the first time that no increase in salaries and pensions was given to the employees and pensioners. He said tall claims were made by the PTI leadership before coming into power and it always criticized the past rulers for taking loans. Javed Abbasi claimed that record loans were obtained during the last two years. Regarding tax collection, Javed Abbasi said the PPP doubled the tax collection revenue during its five years term while PML-N achieved revenue target of Rs 3,942 billion till 2018.
However, the PTI government failed to achieve its revenue target set during the ongoing fiscal year, he added. Similarly, he called for allocating more funds to Balochistan in order to bring it par with other developed areas. Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of JUI-F said several promises were made in past by PTI but no one was fulfilled. He said huge loans were obtained during a short period of two years while total outlay of current budget was reduced as compared to last year. Sassui Palijo of PPPP criticized the government for ignoring Sindh province in the budget. She said funds should be provided to Sindh for K-4, water management projects and small dams. Senator Kalsoom Parveen said the previous governments enhanced salaries and pensions of employees but no raise was given in this budget.