The new federal budget has since been announced. As a senior banker falling in the category of senior citizen, I believe the Federal Budget has been prepared without any innovation, new ideas or any consideration whatsoever for the common man, who form about 80 percent of the total population. Apparently, it has been prepared by the clerks of the Finance Division just by increasing head-wise taxes in different shapes and forms exactly on the pattern of the budget of the previous year without doing any hard work at all.
Prices of all items including sugar, milk, vegetable ghee and oil, air conditioners, refrigerators have been increased even before the approval of the budget by the National Assembly. The stocks held by the business community worth billions of rupees in their stores appreciated by minimum of 10 to 20 percent overnight, they must be all jubilant and no tax on them! Prices may have been increased after application of the taxation measures. But how these have been increased without its enforcement and why the ‘Prince of the Poor People’ (Shahbaz Sharif) is silent over this. Why this was not ensured that the stocks already held by the businessmen should be sold on the previous prices?
In fact, this budget is a blessing for the business community because of appreciation of their stock values and curse for the poor employees whose salaries have in reality been reduced due to increase in commodity items prices. No reform has been introduced in the form of exemption of schools fees of the kids of the poor, no ration card system for purchase of daily use items for the government, semi-government, private sector employees and jobless people.
At least, the government can through a priority legislation force big businessmen/ industrialists for supply of edible food items/cloth to their employees at subsidized rates, at least 20 percent less than the open market. Have a look at the rich of industrialists of Faisalabad or business community of Brandreth Road Market of Lahore and many others which are blissful with their wealth. Can you imagine the huge profits made by sugar mills owners in 2010-11 and onwards which alone runs in billions of rupees.
Has anyone ever studied the profits of the banks such as the Allied Bank, MCB, Habib Bank and others after their privation? Their profits are more than their initial equity in every year ranging from Rs 10 billion or more and most unfortunately, they have not increased pensions of their retired employees for more than a decade.
Is there no one to take notice of the misery of the poor in the country? There was so much this government that has come back for the third time could have done to tell the people that it wanted something better for them, but unfortunately they are playing the same game, and traveling the same road as PPP. We may see a quick end to his, third time unlucky, rule.
ASHFAQ QURESHI,
Lahore, June 16.