HAFIZABAD
Majority of the people particularly, low salary employees, workers, growers and other working class have termed the federal budget jugglery of words having no good news for the poor.
Kissan Board President Amanullah Chathha termed it anti-growers, and said that instead of waiving tax on pesticides, gas surcharge has been increased which would further increase the prices of pesticides. Moreover, fixed tariff of Rs8.50 per unit for tube wells has been abolished which would create further hardship to the growers and ultimately reduce agricultural production.
He further said research in agriculture field has also been ignored in the budget and demanded substantial amount should be earmarked for evolving high production seeds for maximising food production. He also demanded decrease in the prices of fertilisers, diesel oil, pesticides and other agricultural inputs so as to maximise food production to earn maximum foreign exchange and to save Pakistan from becoming a market of India.
Labourers’ leader Arshad Ansari expressed his disappointment over the budget , and said that it had been prepared on the direction of IMF providing little relief for the working class .
He said that wages of workers should be fixed in proportion to the inflation and soaring prices of essential commodities. He regretted that Rs2 billion had been allocated for the opening of 1,000 utility stores in the country, which, he said, would provide no relief for the common man. He said that utility stores are “white elephants” and disclosed that whenever scarcity of any commodity appeared in the open market, officials of utility stores sell such commodity to the hoarders in the market to mint money. He suggested that instead of opening new utility stores, close all the stores and provide the subsidy to the consumers. Apca Chairman Nasarullah Hanjra rejected the nominal increase in the salaries, and said that the budget was absolutely pro-rich and anti-poor.
Small traders have also rejected the budget saying that even a petty vendor was paying taxes in utility bills under the garb of withholding tax and introduction of Rs231 billion taxes would further burden them and enhance the prices of essential commodities. Muhammad Zaman Ansari, the president of Power Looms Union, demanded further increase in the minimum wages.