BAHAWALPUR/MUZAFFARGARH/MANDI BAHAUDDIN/FAISALABAD/SIALKOT/TOBA TEK SINGH/ATTOCK

Pointing out the glaring shortcomings of Federal Budget 2015-16, the all Pakistan industrial bodies, political parties including PPP and PTI as well and unions termed it anti-people, anti-industrialists, anti-farmers and IMF-dictated, and said that it was a bundle of lies and unrealistic figures.

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Chairman Sohail Pasha said the budget makers had failed to give direction to industrial progress, trading activity, reduction in cost of doing business and enhancing the competitive edge of Pakistani goods in international market. The government has not addressed the challenges hurting the exports, he said.

Flanked by Vice Chairman Rizwan Riaz Saigal, he pointed out the glaring shortcomings of federal budget 2015-16. Foremost objective of the budget is to give the direction and fillip to manufacturing, business and trade of the country enabling these sectors optimum utilisation of available resources in order to maximise their output increasing their contribution and share to the GDP.

However, he added, contrary to expectations, no heed had been paid towards the most important sector of national economy and architects of the budget have failed to realise the importance of major irritations besetting the economy and outline a strategy for their solutions, they said.

In the budget, there are no measures to help textile export sector reduce its cost of production and become competitive in global markets as increasing cost of doing business is a stumbling block in export growth, he said.

HIKE IN ST UNACCEPTABLE

He expressed disappointment over not restoring the zero rating facility for export oriented textile chain, and said that it would negatively impact the efforts to boost the exports. Already, the government has not cleared the outstanding export refunds in spite of its commitment in the last budget to pay off the claims by September 2014, he said. He added that increase in sales tax rate from 2% to 3% is unacceptable and demanded zero rated sales tax regime on textile export chain.

"Activation of idle capacities in the value-added textile sector has also been ignored and no funds are allocated for revival of sick units which could help in fetching extra US$ 1 billion in foreign exchange and create additional thousands of new jobs," he said. However, he expressed satisfaction over availability of export refinance facility and long-term finance facility to textile exporters at 4.5pc and 6pc, respectively.

He was of the view that textile sector, an important segment of the economy, was already in grip of severe crisis and the industrial production is not in accordance with the built up manufacturing capacity. Due to the underutilisation, the country was not fetching the full potential of foreign exchange earnings, he said.

IT WILL HIT INDUSTRY HARD: PTEA

"The industry would be hit hard by the soaring prices of supplies and ancillary goods which have been subjected to higher GST rate and withdrawal of subsidies on various items of inputs. Price hike in supply items would create a chain effect of increases and ultimately place a burden on cost of production of industrial goods making the Pakistani goods uncompetitive, he said.

The vice chairman said that energy shortage had been hitting hard the economy. Increasing prices of inputs and acute shortage has translated in to loss of production and cumulatively shed deep negative impact on economy, he noted. The PTEA leaders urged the Government to address the real and basic challenges of textile industry to put the economy into deep gear.

ONLY 7.4PC PAY HIKE IRKS APCA

The leaders of PPP Muzaffargarh, National Labour Federation and paramedical staff termed the budget public enemy. The All Pakistan Clerks Association APCA said, "The Federal Budget is an anti-employees budget as the government has not raised their salaries in line with the increasing inflation thus the 7.5 percent pay raise is very disappointing."

APCA Punjab Secretary General Fakhur Rehman said that after the budget, there would be a new storm of inflation across the country thereby increasing the suicide rate. He said that budget was made on the directions of the International Monetary Fund due to which the lives of the people will become more difficult. He added that a protest campaign will be launched against the current budget.

STORM OF INFLATION FEARED

He rejected the new budget due to not reasonably increasing the salaries of the government servants, and announced to close down the government offices as a protest against the budget. It said that with increase in the General Sales Tax, a storm of inflation will come in the country.

PPP THINKS SALARIED STAFF NEGLECTED

The PPP rejected the Federal Budget 2015-16, and said that it was against the public. "Raising the prices of petroleum products before the budget was unreasonable. The salaried class was totally neglected," its leaders said and demanded that the pension and salaries of the government staff should be raised up to 25pc.

Its leader and former deputy attorney general of Pakistan Khan Muhammad Hussain expressed these thoughts while addressing a press conference. He said that taxes imposed on daily household products like flour, sugar, rice, grams. meat etc in the federal budget is in no way acceptable.

PTI PROTESTS, TERMS IT PEOPLE'S ENEMY

Scores of PTI Muzaffargarh activists staged a demonstration against the PML-N government for presenting anti-people budget. The demo was led by Barrister Mirza Imtiaz Aleem. The participants shouted slogans against the government of Sharif family. He said that it was a unique budget which was rejected by all the sections of the society. He said that it was a bundle of lie and unrealistic figures.

EX-SERVICEMEN DISAPPOINTED

In Mandi Bahauddin, the ex-servicemen also rejected the budget. They said that 7.5% increase in the pension may be sufficient for those who retired recently but it was not enough for those who had retired prior to 2005.

Saying that there is a large gap between the pension of old and new pensioners, they demanded an increase of 20% in their pension to decrease the gap. Pakistan Ex-servicemen Society President Subedar Major (r) Bashir demanded that they should be given medical allowance at the rate of 25% at their pension as it has been announced for civil retirees.

LABOURERS' BODIES ANNOUNCE NATIONWIDE PROTESTS

The Punjab Teachers Union termed the 7.5 percent increase in salaries of government employees and in pension of retired employees unsatisfactory.

PTU Toba Tek Singh President Safia Haq said like the federal government's 2015-16 annual budget, the Punjab government will also follow it. She stated that prices of commodities like milk, sugar, flour, gas, electricity and petroleum products were so high that an employee would never be able to fulfill his needs after minor raise in salaries.

National Labour Federation Chairman Majeed Salik criticised the MNAs for being calm on the issue and said they should demand of the government to make at least 25 percent raise in the salaries of the government employees. He also opposed 100 percent increase in the salaries of secretaries of federal ministries. It announced to hold a protest demonstration against anti poor annual budget on June 9 outside the press clubs all over the country.

At least RS20,000 PAY A MONTH DEMANDED

Awami Workers Party District President Chaudhry Zubair and home based women workers leader Ms Rafia Ashfaq said the minimum salary of Rs13,000 per month fixed for workers in federal government budget was quite insufficient as the price hike will disable them to meet the expenditures of their families.

They demanded fixation of at least Rs20,000 per month minimum salary for the workers. They said it was the budget of capitalists and there was no relief for the poor people in it.

SCCI CALLS BUDGET ANTI-EXPORTERS

The Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) said the budget was not export-friendly. Talking to the newsmen at SCCI, SCCI President Fazal Jillani said that 50 percent increase in GST from 2 to 3 percent would further create hurdles in the cash flow in Sialkot's export oriented industry.

He demanded early exemption of Sialkot industries from the prevailing taxes. Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Pakistan termed the federal fiscal budget against industrial promotional, saying that the export industry would not get any special benefit through the budget.

PRGMEA SEEKS RS30B FOR EXPORT PROMOTION

PRGMEA Central Chairman Ejaz A Khokhar said that it was not an export-oriented budget, but meant to promote the imports. He said that the sales tax on yarn and processing has been increased to 5 percent from 1 to 2 percent. He said that the government has allocated only Rs6 billion which was nothing more than peanuts. The government should allocate at least Rs30 billion for export promotion.

He added that this budget would not give any benefit to the export-oriented industries of Sialkot. He demanded early formation of an aggressive marketing policy. He said that the budget was a game of the words, as the government has not given any trade and export related incentives to the industries of the small industrial cities. He said that the budget was not of the industry as it has totally discouraged the SMEs.

JUGGLERY OF WORDS

The people from different walk of life in Attock termed it the jugglery of words, and said that no relief in real sense had been given to the people.

They said minimum wage for private sector employees has been announced as Rs 13,000 but who would ensure its implementation. The government employees and pensioners said that they were expecting 20 percent increase in salaries and pensions but the budget had disappointed them.

A government employee said that salaries of the private secretaries of the ministers have been made double which is beyond comprehension.

PTI dubs govt 'anti-people regime'

Our Staff Reporter

MULTAN

The workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) staged a demonstration against federal budget here at Chungi No-6 on Saturday. The protesters shouted slogans against PML-N Government and declared it an anti-people regime. They were also holding placards and banners inscribed with anti-government slogans. The demo was led by Barrister Waseem Khan Badozai, a ticket holder of PTI from PP-198

The speakers said on this occasion that the government presented anti-people, anti industrialists, anti- farmers and IMF-dictated budget which had broken the back of already crushed masses. They added that it was for the first time in national history that any budget was rejected by all sections of society. They said that the budget was nothing but jugglery of words. They feared that the budget would bring a new storm of price hike.

Officialdom call

it well balanced

OUR STAFF REPORTERS

ATTOCK/MUZAFFARGARH

Various ministers and lawmakers have said that in the prevailing situation, the federal budget was well balanced and development-oriented while special focus has been given to the energy sector.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed said that defence budget had been increased by 11 percent while keeping in view the energy crisis Rs68 billion had been allocated for Diamir, Bhasha and Dasoo dams. He said to complete additional tasks of Pak China Economic Corridor Rs58 billion had between allocated. He added that 30,000 tube wells would be converted on solar system. He said that funds for Income Support Programme and PBM have been enhanced to ensure benefit to the deserving poor while giving tax free waiver to KPK industry was a good omen and will help improve revival of the industry in the terror hit province.

To a question regarding increase in salaries by 7.5 percent, he said that although it seemed a little amount but on the other hand adhoc relief given during the last two years had been merged into basic salaries which will certainly benefit the gov servants. He also lauded the govt for increasing medical allowance of the employees by 25 percent.

PML-N leaders and MNAs from Muzaffargarh including Hamad Nawaz Khan Tipu, Kaswar Kareem Langrial, Mian Alamdar Qureshi, Malik Sultan Mehmood Hinjra and Sardar Abbad Doghar have stated that the government tried to present a balanced and people friendly budget which is focused on providing maximum relief to the common man.

They said the tax rate has been increased only on the products which fall under the category of luxury items. He said the country needs ample financial resources to ensure socioeconomic development and betterment of the people.

"An all out effort has been made to save the poor segments of the society from imposing new taxes. Besides, measures will be taken to bring the rich segments of the society in the tax net," they added.

They said the government had achieved many economic successes during its tenure and was working on a number of projects to improve the economy.

Minister Social Welfare Makhdoom Haroon Sultan Bokhari said that the economy had improved during the past two years because of prudent economic policies. He said the present government had been making efforts to overcome the challenge of power shortage as many power projects were underway in this regard.

He said the government had also tried to provide relief to overseas Pakistanis. MPA Malik Ahmed Yar Hinjra hailed the increase allocation for the education sector in the budget. He said Rs20 billion was allocated for 143 projects of Higher Education Commission besides allocating Rs51 billion for the current expenditures.