ISLAMABAD - All the major opposition parties in the National Assembly have rejected the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21 and termed it as an anti-people budget.

Three major opposition parties including; Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and Awami National Party (ANP) have strongly opposed the budget and stated that they will never accept the budget presented by the incumbent government.

In his response to the budget presented by the PTI government, the PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said that this budget will lead to more inflation and unemployment. He said the government has tried to hide its incompetence behind allegations on the previous government and now the new coronavirus.

He said his suspicion unfortunately all came true and it is a matter of sheer concern and regret that the people of Pakistan are paying for the blunders of the government.

Shehbaz said the PML-N government adopted a policy of lower inflation and more progress and development, but the PTI government has implemented a totally opposite approach.

He said the Rs 1.7 billion tax deficit is the hallmark of this government’s performance. For the first time in 68 years, the country’s GDP is in negative territory after inheriting 5.8 GDP from the PML-N government. He predicted that a 10 percent revenue deficit will break all records. Never in the history of this country has this figure been in double digits but the incompetence of PTI has achieved.

The PML-N President said the PTI has set unreal and unreasonable budget targets which will increase problems for the people. This unreal target will further discredit the already failed government. He pointed out that the government fell short of its previous targets and has now set even taller targets that are a mile higher.

He claimed that this was the first government that has missed all targets of tax revenue, government expenditure, fiscal deficit and GDP, he said, and added that hiding behind the coronavirus is not going to do any good. This is a proof of the government’s lack of vision, government failures and economic destruction.

 

Shehbaz said it is absolutely brutal not to increase salaries and pensions on IMF pressure. He regretted how the government froze CPEC in its tracks, ignored Balochistan and slashed the development budget drastically.

 

He warned that the nation must get ready for a series of mini-budgets. He questioned where was the promised increase in exports, progress in agriculture and industry and people friendly budget measures.

 

While showing his reservations over the tax collection he said that this government’s 3800 billion tax collection instead of the target Rs 5555 billion was even less than the collection by the PML-N government 2 years ago.

 

The government borrowed Rs 1723 billion from private banks and will take Rs 1000 billion more from private banks. The government borrowed 500 percent more this year”, the National Assembly Opposition Leader said.

 

Meanwhile, in her response to the 2020 budget, PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “This is not a national budget for a country facing a crisis. It squandered a huge opportunity to change priorities, like diverting resources to health as a percentage of GDP. Instead of that it cut money for the provinces that run the social spending.

 

She stated that the data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics shows that the year-on-year inflation in January 2019 was 5.6%. Whereas, by January 2020, the percentage had spiked to 14.6%. It is a shocking record of the highest inflation surge in the world.

 

She added that the total debt and liabilities of the country rose by Rs2.597 trillion in the period running from July 2019 to March 2020. The total is now at 102.6% of gross domestic product (GDP).

 

While expressing her reservations over the health budget she said that as per the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, till last year there were 1,279 hospitals in the country. No new hospitals were added in the years 2018-2019; adding that it is worrying that our health spending is still around 1.3% of the GDP despite WHO saying those countries should be spending at least 5% of their GDP on health.

 

Commenting on the disastrous revenue collection, she said, “FBR management is trying to justify its poor performance by hiding behind the COVID-19 situation. In the pre-COVID-19 situation, the FBR had sustained a shortfall of Rs 693 billion. In April, the FBR provisionally collected Rs242.5 billion in taxes, down by Rs48 billion or 16.5% when compared with the collection in the same month of last year. This low revenue collection will have serious implications for the country’s debt”.

 

While showing its reservations over the budget Awami National Party (ANP) Chief Asfandiyar Wali Khan said that the government had failed to collect the targeted revenue and it was a big sign of the incompetence of the government.

 

He stated that the budget was made on the wishes of IMF and it was never supposed to give relief to any poor person of the country. While talking about the budget for the tribal districts he said that the government has also reduced the developmental budget for the tribal districts even less than the previous years; which was unjust to the people of tribal regions.