ISLAMABAD - Former federal minister Khurram Dastgir Khan yesterday blamed the incumbent government for economic calamity and termed it a ‘lier’ and figures given by it as ‘fictitious’.

He was taking part in the budget debate in National Assembly where he strongly criticised the government for poor economy and mishandling of corona pandemic.

Mr Dastgir called the budget 2020-21 as an FIR (First Information Report) against government about murder of economy. He maintained that the government is linking poor state of economy with the spread of coronavirus but in fact it had already destroyed the country economically much before.  

He said that the fact should be clarified that the economic indicators were worse even before pandemic comes. He informed GDP growth in his government was 5.8 percent and now it is minus 0.7 present.

“They bring down the GDP growth from sky and laid down it on earth due to their policies”, he added.

He said the growth in agriculture sector was 4 percent and now it is 0.6 percent, growth in manufacturing sector was 5.4 percent and now it is minus 0.7 present and the growth in large scale manufacturing was 5.8 percent which is now minus 2.7 percent.   

“Government claims improvement in agriculture sector but if the improvement have been made in reality then why people are forced to purchase essential items on such a high prices”, he questioned, adding “The Bureau of Statistics announced that the prices of wheat has been increased 25 percent.”   

Former federal minister informed the house that the inflation rate touched the peak of 14.6 percent in January 2020 while prices of essential items increased 24 percent in rural and 20 percent in urban areas.

“Increase of prices of eatable commodities to such a high level means hunger is spreading in Pakistan,” he said rhetorically.

He informed that the revenue collection of FBR in our government was Rs.3842bn and this government set a target of collection Rs.4150bn but collected only Rs.3829bn. He said it is unprecedented in the history of last 40 years that a government collects less revenue than previous one.

“Blaming corona bad economic performance is not justified as sixteen years’ lowest cotton crop was harvested even before the pandemic”, he stated.

He criticised the government for increasing energy tariffs and said that the mills have been closed and people have become unemployed.

Khurram Dastgir Khan said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet member were criticising upon us for taking loans and now his own government takes Rs.12941bn as loan in just 21 months.

“We left government with an external debit of Rs.29879 but in March 2020 it was 42803”, he informed, adding, “One thing should be remember this Rs22b per day loan is taken without any development in the country.” 

He said government claims that it has returned Rs.5763 billion in debt servicing, we accept it but a commission should be formed who asked the government for rest of Rs.7178b.

He said we left with the circular debit of Rs.1100bn and now it is 2400bn, the total GDP in terms of dollars was $312bn and now it is $264.

He urged the government to tell the nation that where $51bn have been gone and also questioned that how a subseidy of Rs.1015bn have been given to blue-eyed segments.  

He said each and every figure presented by the government is baseless and fictitious. He said the government is claiming that the GDP growth in this year will remain minus 0.4 but experts says it would be between the minus 1.5 to minus 2.5.

He said the government has declared the budget as tax free but data showed that they will collect Rs.1057bn extra tax in next year. He said government claims that they did not give any supplementary grant in last fiscal year but in fact they have given Rs.544bn as supplementary grants.

He also criticised the government for increase in the prices of sugar and termed Prime Minister’s approval of sugar import as its routcuase. 

“This is the government of mafia, government by the mafia and government by the mafia”, he maintained, adding: “Commissions was to investigate price hike not the subsidy.”

He said the prices increased because prime minister allowed to export the sugar and data reflects that it cause price increase but the export was not halted even when prices goes up to Rs.90 per KG from Rs.55.

Khurram Dastgir Khan also criticised the government for not taking effective measures to control the spread of coronavirus.

He said unfortunately the Prime Minister’s task force Chairman Dr. Ata-ur-Rehman himself accepted that the actual number of corona cases in Pakistan are two to three times higher than the official figures.

“The government remained confused on the issue of corona and there are contradictions in the statements of its ministers”, he said, adding: “Once they said that the corona would touch its peak in June and then the graph will go down and now they are saying that the wave would remain continue in July and then go to its high level in August.

He said the government have accepted defeat before the pandemic and taking cover of terminologies like smart lockdown and herd immunity and leave people alone to takle coronavirus.

He said government claim every other day that we are still far behind the actual possible number of coronavirus effected people and number of deaths in Pakistan.

“I want to know, how many people will have to die to satisfy this government that the number have been achieved”, he said, adding: “The truth is that the government which is headed by Imran Khan has been failed to protect the lives of Pakistanis.”